By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The two young polar bears that currently call the Maryland Zoo home will soon be relocated to habitats that will better fit their needs as they grow, the zoo announced Monday.

The bears, half-sisters Neva and Amelia Gray, arrived at the zoo in Baltimore at around two-years-old, and now they are nearing five, a time experts say is a critical stage in their development. The bears are splitting up for facilities that better fit their needs.

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Amelia Gray will be relocated to the Oregon Zoo in Portland, where she’ll be with her six-year-old half-sister.

“Amelia Gray is more cautious of her surroundings and needs more time to assess all of the input she receives from her environment,” said McClure. “She also seems to do well having time alone to help her decompress from lots of stimulus. Oregon’s new Polar Passage habitat has several different areas and will be able to provide her with her own space as needed and opportunities for continued socialization.”

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The more confident Neva is moving to an unspecified zoo, where she will eventually be paired with a male bear to mate with.

“Neva has experience being around a male since she had a brother to compete with who was almost twice her size, and she is more assertive in her behavior,” continued McClure.  “Neva tends to solicit interaction from Amelia and we felt she would be more comfortable engaging with a male which would likely lead to more successful breeding.”

The zoo said the bear’s schedule at the Polar Bear Watch will be sporadic as they prepare for the big move. The exhibit will now be solely for grizzly bear cubs Nova and Nita, orphans expected to remain at the Maryland Zoo for life.

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CBS Baltimore Staff