Private Juno: Bringing some GRRRRRRR to the Army

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Article / February 26, 2016 / Project number: 16-0051

Toronto, Ontario — Private Juno, a polar bear cub born at the Toronto Zoo on Remembrance Day 2015, reported for duty with the Canadian Army (CA) on February 25, 2016.

Just three months old but already weighing in at more than 10 kilograms, Private Juno was welcomed into the Army as its official “live mascot” in advance of her public debut that will coincide with the Toronto Zoo’s recognition of International Polar Bear Day on February 27.

Commander of the Canadian Army Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse said, “I am very proud to welcome this newest member of the Canadian Army family. Aptly named Juno, she will stand as a living example of the bravery, tenacity and strength of our soldiers who were instrumental in the success of D-Day operations on the shores of Normandy in 1944.

We are proud and happy to adopt Juno into the Army today and promote her immediately to the rank of Private,” Brigadier General David Patterson, Deputy Commander, 4th Canadian Division said at the ceremony. “Juno Beach has been an important part of our Canadian military history and heritage. Since Private Juno was born on Remembrance Day last fall, the day of the year when Canadians honour that history and heritage, officials at the Toronto Zoo decided that Juno would be a very appropriate name for the young bear.

I believe that Private Juno will have a long and successful career with us. Like all good soldiers, I’m sure she will work hard and advance in rank over the years. Eventually she could be known as Sergeant Juno or Captain Juno. Perhaps, one day, even as General Juno,” he continued.

Juno is in good company as the latest in a long line of animal mascots adopted by armed forces largely for ceremonial purposes. By the time she attains the rank of General Juno, she could weigh in excess of 350 kilograms.

The Zoo, with support from the CA, will create a plaque to be placed at the exhibit promoting Juno.

Coincidentally, the CA already has a costumed polar bear mascot, Juno the Canadian Army Mascot, also named after Juno Beach. This character, who was present to help welcome Private Juno, is animated by a soldier in a specially-created outfit.

Since joining the Army in 2003, he has become a memorable spokesman at many family-oriented Canadian Armed Forces and civilian functions across Canada, including the annual Canada Army Run.

Juno the Army Mascot enforces the reality that the Canadian Army is Strong, Proud, Ready. Private Juno, on the other hand, has a ways to go but can likely get very far on Sweet, Plump, Rowdy.

By Lynn Capuano, Army Public Affairs

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