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November 25, 2019

Our polar bears and young walruses will soon be back

Quebec City – Aquarium du Québec is in a state of excitement as it prepares for the return to its basins of Lakina and Balzac, the two young walruses born in Quebec City, and Eddy, the polar bear, who’ll share his brand-new habitat with two new companions of his species.

There will be some movement at Aquarium du Québec in the coming months thanks to a partnership of expertise forged with the Toronto Zoo. The two accredited institutions have agreed on an exchange in order to optimize scientific research and promote a stimulating and comfortable environment for their animals.

"We’re extremely proud to have as a main partner the Toronto Zoo, a key player in conservation and research. Together we’ll enhance the visitor experience and contribute to new research that will help animal populations in the wild," says a delighted Elizabeth Tessier, Director of Aquarium du Québec.

"Our research will provide a better understanding of the biology, diet, and behaviour of walruses and polar bears. Scientific research provides valuable information to support education and conservation efforts on behalf of these species," adds Dolf DeJong, CEO of the Toronto Zoo.

The return of Lakina and Balzak

Within a few weeks, at the end of a two-year agreement with the Vancouver Aquarium, the two young walruses, Lakina and Balzak, will return to the Aquarium du Québec basins where they were born in 2016. They’ll join the two adult walrus in residence: Arnaliaq, the female, and Boris, the male.

Due to a lack of space in the medium term and to avoid inbreeding, the two female walruses, Arnaliaq and Lakina, will leave next spring for the Toronto Zoo, which is currently setting up a brand-new habitat just for them. Boris and Balzak, the two males, will continue to navigate the waters of Aquarium du Québec.

A new home and new companions for Eddy

Aquarium du Québec is currently rebuilding its polar bear habitat to double its area. For the duration of the work, the Aquarium's two resident polar bears are being housed at the Polar Bear Habitat in Cochrane, Ontario. Once the renovation is completed, only the male, Eddy, will return to Quebec City. The female, Taiga, will join three other female polar bears at the Toronto Zoo.

Meanwhile, two males from Toronto, Hudson and Humphrey, will move to the new Aquarium du Québec habitat, which will now house three polar bears. Visitors should be able to check them out in the spring of 2020.

Species grouping by sex aims to limit the captive breeding of polar bears, as recommended by the North American Polar Bear Species Survival Plan, in order to prioritize the adoption of orphaned young polar bears whose natural habitat is threatened by global warming.

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