Polar bear 'Anoki' returns to Seneca Park Zoo

    Anoki the polar bear swimming in her exhibit at the Seneca Park Zoo.

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- In the late 1990s, Anoki roamed the polar bear exhibit at the Seneca Park Zoo, but she was destined for a bigger adventure.

    It included stops at zoos in New Mexico and Maryland and a starring role in a 2003 Pepsi Superbowl ad.

    Anoki appears in a 2003 Pepsi Super Bowl Ad.

    Anoki most recently spent time at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, where she got a peanut butter-flavored send off this week.

    Now, she's back at the zoo where she was born.

    "12 members of our staff who are still with us today were here in 1996, and they are part of our welcome home committee,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.

    Anoki was born to polar bears Yukon and Aurora in 1996. Yukon died 10 years ago. The zoo lost Aurora earlier this year to liver disease. It was a difficult loss, but fitting that her cub takes her place.

    "At 22 she is curious, bright, intelligent and motivated,” said Dinolfo.

    Anoki is already putting on a show in her exhibit.

    "It's exciting to see on its first day out and cool to watch,” said Claire Spears. "I'm very excited a new polar bear came because polar bears are my favorite animal."

    "That was a bonus for us. We didn't know the polar bear was going to be here. We were missing our polar bear friend so we are glad she's back,” said Karin Spears, Claire’s mother.

    The Seneca Park Zoo has been home to polar bears for more than 55 years.

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