Alba's Final Day in Salisbury - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Alba's Final Day in Salisbury

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Andean bear, Alba, at the Salisbury Zoo. (Photo: WBOC) Andean bear, Alba, at the Salisbury Zoo. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md. - Salisbury's most popular bear is headed out west for the bright lights of California.  The 16-month-old Andean Bear Alba spent her final day in Salisbury on Tuesday and will travel to San Diego early Wednesday morning.

Alba will be traveling over 2, 700 miles to the San Diego Zoo on Wednesday morning.  Her keepers say she is leaving the Salisbury Zoo for a very important reason.

"The species survival plan is a collaborative effort between zoos and aquariums to keep endangered species in sustainable populations in zoos so that if anything ever happens to the wild population, there are still animals with us, Ian Shelley of the Salisbury Zoo told WBOC on Tuesday.

The Andean Bear is an endangered species so any new cubs are critical.  Alba will have a new mate in San Diego named Turbo.  She is still too young to breed, but she is heading to San Diego now to get used to her new environment and keepers before she becomes a mother.

Back in Salisbury, Alba's mother Chaska won't be alone forever.

"Out plan is to eventually bring in another male for Chaska.  She is a proven breeder and as endangered as Andean bears are, every cub is very important," Shelley said.

For those close to Alba, it is tough saying goodbye, but they know they must, just as Chaska's former keepers in Washington D.C. had to as well.

"They made the decision to send her to us for the good of the species survival program and we're going to do the same for Alba," said Shelley.

Crews at the San Diego Zoo will be building more objects for Alba to be able to climb, something she did on a daily basis here in Salisbury.

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