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Too popular polar bear: Osaka zoo ends display of cub due to crowding amid pandemic

This photo shows Ho-chan the polar bear cub, bottom, and her mother Icchan at Osaka Tennoji Zoo in the city of Osaka on March 22, 2021. Both bears have been taken off public display. (Mainichi/Takao Kitamura)

OSAKA -- A polar bear cub at Osaka Tennoji Zoo here attracted so many visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic that the zoo announced on April 7 that it would take the female cub Ho-chan and her mother Icchan off public display from the next day.

    Ho-chan made her debut in front of visitors on March 23 and was immediately popular. She and her mother will be kept out of the public eye until May 5, when the quasi-emergency coronavirus measures in the city of Osaka and some other municipalities ends.

    Ho-chan was born in November last year. According to the zoo, visitors have been lining up to see her every day since her debut, sometimes having to wait roughly 40 minutes. The zoo decided to halt the display to prevent crowding and to ease the burden on the mother bear and her baby. The zoo said that it will keep posting polar bear videos on YouTube.

    (Japanese original by Yusuke Kori, Osaka City News Department)

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