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Oregon Zoo's beloved polar bear Nora will be leaving for Utah this fall

Nora the polar bear plays in the snow at the Oregon Zoo, Thursday, Dec. 8. 2016. (Oregon Zoo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) - The Oregon Zoo has announced that beloved polar bear Nora will be finding a new home in the fall.

According to zoo officials, Nora will be moving to the Hogle Zoo in Utah while crews here in Portland work to renovate and expand the polar bear exhibit.

Nora will join Hope, a polar bear of similar age, when she arrives in Utah later this year.

Crews will be working on Oregon Zoo's "Polar Passage" project through 2020, a release said, and it's not certain if Nora will return once it's complete. An official said it's just too soon to say, not ruling out the possibility.

"While we would love to welcome Hope to Portland, the timing's not right since we're gearing up for construction of our new Polar Passage habitat," said Amy Cutting, who oversees the Oregon Zoo's marine life area. "But Hogle Zoo has a terrific modern polar bear habitat and an expert animal-care team. It will be a great place for these two young bears to get acquainted."

You can still visit Nora at the Oregon Zoo all summer long. There is no exact date set yet for her departure.

"The polar bear community is tight-knit," she said. "We all work together on easing transitions when bears move, and we share best practices for polar bear care."

Read more from the Oregon Zoo about the project, the bears and transition here.

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