ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Visitors to the North Carolina Zoo are getting a post-Christmas treat.
Patches, the zoo's new female polar bear, goes on exhibit for the first time Thursday. The zoo is closed on Christmas Day.
The bear was born in November 1987 at the zoo in Omaha, Neb., and was moved to the Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania in December 2007. Patches was transferred to the N.C. Zoo in late November after Erie Zoo officials decided to replace their polar bear habitat with new exhibits.
The 26-year-old bear was at first reluctant to go indoors to off-exhibit holding quarters, making it difficult for keepers to perform maintenance on the exhibit.
Fowler said hydraulic doors will remain open to give the bear access to both the exhibit and holding quarters,