Kulu the polar bear is now at the Como Zoo and testing polar bear tracking device prototype

Kulu the polar bear, who has gained a following after being born on Thanksgiving Day 2019 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, is the newest addition to the Como Zoo and comes with a new tacking device from the “Burr on Fur” program to better track polar bears.

Kulu has just one of several tracking tag prototypes called the “tri-brush attachment.”

Como Zoo’s newest resident is Kulu, a 725-pound male polar bear, who came to Como from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Como visitors can see Kulu, who is nearly two-years-old, in the deep-water exhibit of the Polar Bear Odyssey habitat. While Kulu will be able to see, smell, and verbally interact with Como’s current resident polar bears Nan and Neil, they will be physically separated until Kulu completes a mandatory quarantine period. (Courtesy of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory)

The device sticks to the polar bear’s fur, providing a minimally invasive way of tracking polar bears in the wild, according to a statement from the Como Zoo. The prototype was developed through a partnership between Polar Bears International and 3M scientists, including White Bear, Minnesota resident Jon Kirschhoffer.

Scientists have used satellite collars to follow polar bears and their movements, but they have only been able to place them on adult females, according to a statement by Geoff York, senior director of conservation at Polar Bears International.

“The devices designed by 3M represent a major potential step forward — they could be used on all classes of polar bears and would allow us to obtain critical data with the least impact possible,” York said in a statement.

Kulu, which is an Inuktitut term of endearment, is in the deep-water exhibit of the Polar Bear Odyssey habitat at the zoo and will be physically separated from the other polar bears until Kulu’s mandatory quarantine period is complete.


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