Photo of Bo the polar bear courtesy of Henry Vilas Zoo

Our Polar Bears

Polar Bear Bo at Henry Vilas Zoo. Courtesy of Henry Vilas Zoo.“Bo” (Borealis)

Born at the Toledo Zoo on December 9, 2018, Borealis aka “Bo” was named for the Aurora Borealis. He came to Louisville in February of 2024  from the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is over 1,000 pounds and came to Louisville as a recommended breeding partner for our rescued polar bear, Qannik.  His favorite treat is lard!

Read the media release about his arrival!

Polar Bear at the Louisville Zoo


Qannik was born in January 2011 and rescued on Alaska’s North Slope in April. She took up temporary residence at the Alaska Zoo before moving to her permanent home in Louisville in June 2011. Qannik turned 10 years old on January 10, 2021. Learn more about Qannik’s story and “Operation Snowflake.”

Qannik also has her own book! Read it here.

Polar Bear Activities

The bears are constantly exploring on and off exhibit spaces. Qannik’s first “home” within Glacier Run was Bear Alley (the warehouse dock of the fictional mining town known as Glacier Run); she continues her antics in that space with an ever-changing set of toys. You can also see Qannik in the Glacier exhibit frolicking in the pool, bolting and bounding up and down the road that has been washed out by the glacier, splashing in the creeks, running up and down the conveyor belt, engaging visitors through the window of the classroom and generally owning the exhibit space with her playfulness.

Qannik is on a full rotational schedule with the other bears of Glacier Run. Because polar bears are naturally solitary, coming together only to breed, they are not on exhibit together. You may see the bears in Bear Alley or the outdoor pool exhibit when you come to visit. The wild offers variety for its inhabitants naturally and we try to do the same in Glacier Run — provide variety for our bears. The rotation of animals on and off exhibit in Glacier Run or any exhibit is designed to enhance their health and well-being by giving them constant enrichment opportunities and more choices for interacting with their environments. This rotation approach has also been successful in our award-winning Gorilla Forest and Islands exhibits. Click here to learn more about how and why we use rotation.

Learn more about Qannik

Learn more about polar bears