Nikita, the zoo's male polar bear, getting ready to leave - KCTV5

Nikita, the zoo's male polar bear, getting ready to leave

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Nikita is getting ready to leave Berlin, his exhibit  and the rest of Kansas city to head east to North Carolina. Nikita is getting ready to leave Berlin, his exhibit and the rest of Kansas city to head east to North Carolina.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Kansas City Zoo will soon say goodbye to one its most popular animals.

Nikita, the zoo's male polar bear, is getting ready to leave Berlin, his exhibit and the zoo as he heads east to North Carolina.

For the last five years, Nikita has lived in his exhibit at the zoo. On Saturday, hundreds came to see him for what could be the last time.

Lane Sturgeon is a polar bear fanatic. More precisely, a Nikita fanatic, which is why this year alone she's been to the zoo 20 to 30 times.

"Just to see Nikita," Sturgeon said.

Saturday, Sturgeon drove a half hour from Leawood to attend his going away party..

Nikita will be heading to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, where officials hope he'll have the chance to mate.

“We’re definitely going to miss him and are sad to see him go, but our overall goal is to conserve the species, and we’re really excited he’s going to be a part of that," animal supervisor Andrea O'Daniels said.

While Sturgeon is excited for Nikita's future, she's also sad to see him leave.

"Just love how he enjoys life to the fullest out in the water and swims. It’s amazing," Sturgeon exclaimed.

Sturgeon has a special connection to Nikita. She’s a member of the Polar Friends group, which donates money to the zoo's bears, Nikita and Berlin.

Sturgeon came out to get a glimpse of Nikita Saturday. But, she says she hopes it won't be the last time she sees him.

“Nikita, I’ll miss you. Maybe I’ll come out to North Carolina," Sturgeon told her pal.

If you didn’t have a chance to come out to the zoo Saturday, you still have time. Nikita won't be leaving until early January.

Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved

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