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Male polar bear leaving Vilas Zoo for breeding purposes, officials say

MADISON, Wis. - Henry Vilas Zoo's male polar bear Sakari will be leaving the zoo as part of a coordinated set of moves to place bears for breeding purposes, according to a release.

The polar bear species survival plan recommendations come from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' advisory group that manages the polar bear population in North American zoos, helping ensure the species for future generations, officials said.

"Polar bears are threatened in the wild, which is why it is imperative to work together with other AZA accredited zoos to provide the best possible chance for the species to reproduce. Zoos are one part of the conservation effort to help save polar bears in the wild," Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz said in the release.

The zoo will be holding a send-off party Friday at the Glacier Grille restaurant overlooking the polar bear exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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