Detroit Zoo Welcomes Cool New Resident

Dinner with the polar bears up for bid at Sunset at the Zoo June 17

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Now chilling at the Detroit Zoo is a 19-year-old male polar bear named Aquila (pronounced ah-KEE-la). For the next two years, the 900-pound mammal will make himself at home in the Arctic Ring of Life while his habitat at the North Carolina Zoo is being renovated.


“We’re excited that the Detroit Zoo was recommended as Aquila’s temporary home and happy to share our award-winning facility with him,” said Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter.


The Arctic Ring of Life is North America’s largest polar bear exhibit. A unique feature of the 4-acre habitat is the Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage, where visitors walk through a 70-foot-long clear underwater tunnel as polar bears swim above and around them. The habitat was named the second-best zoo exhibit in the country by Intrepid Traveler’s guide to “America’s Best Zoos”.


Aquila, which is Latin for eagle, joins 11-year-old male Lee, 27-year-old female Bärle (pronounced BEAR-la) and her daughter, 7-year-old female Talini, in their spacious habitat. Other residents in the Arctic Ring of Life include seals and arctic foxes.


Aquila makes his debut just in time for the Detroit Zoological Society’s annual fundraiser, Sunset at the Zoo, on Friday, June 17, 2011, at 7 p.m. The gala event features a strolling supper, zoo-themed martinis, live entertainment, dancing and access to the Zoo’s award-winning animal habitats and Dinosauria at twilight.


A live auction includes “zoo-nique” experiences such as a gourmet dinner for 12 with the polar bears and a polar bear and seal feeding for six. Tickets for Sunset at the Zoo range from $150 to $300. To purchase tickets by phone, call (248) 541-5717 and press 3; for more information and to order tickets online, visit





Celebrating its 100th year, the Detroit Zoological Society is a nonprofit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo. Situated on 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits, the Detroit Zoo is located at the intersection of 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, just off I-696, in Royal Oak, Mich. The Detroit Zoo is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through Labor Day (with extended hours until 8 p.m. Wednesdays during July and August), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the day after Labor Day through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March. Admission is $12 for adults 15 to 61, $10 for senior citizens 62 and older, and $8 for children 2 to 14 (children under 2 are free). The Belle Isle Nature Zoo is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round; admission is free. For more information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit