COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in central Ohio says the three polar bears born there in 2016 will move to new homes this fall.

The zoo says half-sisters Neva (NEE'-vuh) and Amelia Gray will be transferred to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Neva's twin brother, Nuniq (NEW'-nick), also is moving. His destination hasn't been announced, nor have the moving dates for the 22-month-old bears.

Curator Carrie Pratt says the zoo is sad they're leaving but calls it a necessary next step for the growing bears. Pratt says zookeepers are proud to be working to help protect the threatened species.

The zoo says the move creates an opportunity for possibly introducing a male polar bear to remaining females Aurora and Anana.