Beloved polar bear returns to Oregon Zoo: Nora’s back!

Beloved polar bear returns to Oregon Zoo: Nora’s back!

Nora is back! After spending the past few years at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, the 5-year-old polar bear returned to the Oregon Zoo last month and is settling in at the new Polar Passage habitat.

“The entire team is super excited to have her back,” said Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey, the zoo’s senior marine life keeper, who worked closely with Nora during her previous time in Oregon. “She has grown into a beautiful bear. Her coat looks great and she seems very comfortable already — she has been taking dips and splashing around.”

Nora was born Nov. 6, 2015, at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and — when her mother began leaving her unattended in the den for prolonged periods of time —Columbus caregivers made the difficult but necessary decision to step in and hand-rear the tiny cub, feeding her from a bottle until she was old enough to eat on her own. To learn more about Nora’s story, go to

The zoo’s new Polar Passage habitat is one of eight major projects made possible by the community-supported zoo bond measure passed in 2008. Many of its features were funded through the Oregon Zoo Foundation’s $8.5 million Heart of the Oregon Zoo campaign, which supports zoo’s animal welfare, conservation and education efforts. To learn more or to make a gift, call 503-220-2493 or email

As climate change reduces Arctic sea ice, polar bears struggle to find and catch seals, making it harder for them and their cubs to survive. The species is classified as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission has designated the species as facing a high risk of global extinction.

To see a video about the new habitat, go to To learn more about Nora’s story, go to