Orphaned polar bear cub, Qannik, arrives at Louisville Zoo

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by Brooke Katz

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 28 at 9:00 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)- The Louisville Zoo has a new addition, an abandoned 5-month-old polar bear named Qannik. Qannik translates into “snowflake” and is also the name of the oil field where the young polar bear was found. Employees of ConocoPhillips spotted the cub on Alaska’s North Slope in April. The Alaska Zoo helped rescue the cub and nurse her back to health. UPS then delivered her to Louisville in what has become known as “Operation Snowflake.” Qannik will be living in the Zoo’s Glacier Run bear habitat. Director John Walczak said he wants the little bear to help get out a big message about how climate change is devastating the polar bear population. “Her ambassadorship is for her species and for one of the most important environmental issues facing our planet,” said Walczak. Qannik is not on display at the moment, and zoo officials said they will monitor her behavior before deciding when she is ready for a public debut. Zoo officials said the new Glacier Run facility, the experience of the staff and a tentatively-scheduled placement of a young captive-born polar bear at the zoo were all factors in the decision for Louisville to become Qannik’s new home.

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