Representatives of Utah’s Hogle Zoo said Monday that one of their polar bears is making a steady recovery since breaking a leg earlier this year, but is not yet ready to return to the zoo’s Rocky Shores exhibit outside of limited rehabilitation periods.
The roughly 4-year-old polar bear, named Nora, is part of a pair that arrived at Hogle in 2017. She underwent surgery in February after fracturing the humerus bone in her right, front leg and on Monday went through a new round of x-rays.
“We’re happy with the progress that’s been made thus far,” Watkins said. “We’ve still got a little bit of time ahead of us to go, but we’re clear for continued rehab and we’re looking forward to what we believe is a pretty good chance that she’s going to make a full recovery to her former self and be able to do what she was doing before she ever got injured.”
Watkins declined to estimate on the duration of Nora’s recovery, saying only that “hopefully within the next months” the polar bear would be largely healed.
“It’s really hard to pin down an exact timeframe, at this point, when she’ll be back to normal,” Watkins said.
Hogle Zoo associate veterinarian Erika Crook said it’s possible Nora could be reunited with her counterpart, Hope, as an “early holiday present.” And since August, Nora has been making brief, isolated appearances in the exhibit, and Crook said those periods will likely increase in frequency as Nora continues to recover.
“I think in the next couple months the guests will be seeing more of her, but we don’t have a schedule,” Crook said. “People will always come and see a polar bear but it might be Hope and not Nora and eventually we would like to get them together, but we’d like to give the bone more time to heal before we do that.”