Friday, February 14, 2020

A look at polar bear LOVE for Valentine's Day

 For Valentine's Day,
 some glimpses of romantic love between polar bears.

Flocke and Raspi
 Marineland, Antibes France - 2018

Little One and Anana
Cincinnati Zoo - 2018

Little One and Anana
 Cincinnati Zoo - 2018

"The Coy Lady"
Little One and Berit
Cincinnati Zoo - 2013

Little One runs away wit Berit's icy heart
 Cincinnati Zoo - 2015 

Yoghi and Giovanna
Hellabrunn Tierpark, Munich - 2011

Yoghi and Giovanna
Tierpark Hellabrunn, Munich - 2011

Nord and Malik
Aalborg Denmark - 2019

Little One and Anana
 Cincinnati Zoo - 2019

Corinna and Anton - The Wilhelma - Stuttgart Germany - 2011
Every afternoon, Anton would climb onto a jutting rock, and Corinna would come up next to him, and lick his ears. A sign of great love.

"Yin and Yang"
Raspi and Flocke
Marineland - Antibes France - 2018

"Love bite"
Flocke and Raspi
Marineland, Antibes France - 2018
"Two Ladies"
Nanuq and twin sisters Aurora and Anana
Columbus Zoo - 2013

Not polar bears, but these two hippos knew now to show love.
 Fiona's parents Henry and Bibi - Cincinnati Zoo - 2017

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Happy 9th Birthday Qannik

Qannik celebrates her 9th birthday by fishing out some bamboo
 from her giant cardboard "9."

Back in the winter of 2011, a tiny polar bear cub was found on Alaska's North Slope. She had become separated from her mother and sister, probably by a storm, and weighed only 15 pounds when brought to the Alaska Zoo. In late June of that year, she was flown to the Louisville Zoo, sponsored by UPS, where she found a great home at Glacier Run. She weighed about 70 pounds when she arrived.

New toys, treats and decorations for her birthday

No one knew her exact birthday, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife assigned her January 10 as her official birthday.

Qannik's pumpkin treat, frozen letters spelling out Happy Birthday
 Every January, the Louisville Zoo throws a fun birthday party for Qannik. This year's party was delayed twice due to weather, but this weekend the weather, although gloomy, was good enough, and a crowd gathered Saturday morning to sing Happy Birthday to Qannik.  All her keepers were there too.

A view showing some of the gathered fans singing Happy Birthday to Qannik

This disk of frozen pumpkin was a big hit with the birthday girl.
Qannik now weighs about 500 pounds, and one of her favorite foods is pumpkin, so her keepers froze some pumpkin, and used cookie cutters to make letters to spell out "Happy Birthday Qannik."

Fun to play with and tastes good too.

Qannik discovers that the letters are edible

Pumpkin letters with peanutbutter to hold them in place

Alphabet soup

Pumpkin or flags? What's next?
 Since the party was weather dependent, and they weren't sure just when it would take place, the keepers made all the treats and decorations with Qannik's favorite goodies that wouldn't spoil.

Qannik would pick up the disk and throw it into the air,
 so it would break. Clever girl.

She also had some frozen pumpkin snacks, including a big disk, which she enjoyed throwing up in the air so when it crashed down, pieces would break off.

Like a cookie

See! You throw it down and it breaks apart!

A string of paper flags were stuck to the ramp with peanutbutter, so that was another fun treat for Qannik to demolish. 
Qannik discovers the peanutbutter holding up the flags.

Tearing down the party favors

There go the flags!

Just paper. The good part is the peanutbutter

Qannik tries a taste.

Decorations are destroyed. What's next?

Qannik's keepers made another sign with marshmallow fluff, peanutbutter and jelly.
She has a new bowl toy, but was more interested in the signs.

Lick, lick, lick

Delicious peanutbutter

 A giant pink "9" made of cardboard was filled with bamboo for the birthday girl.

Qannik's nose smells bamboo inside

She knocks it down

 Here's a photo of Qannik which I took just a few months after she arrived in Louisville, still a little cub. She has come a long way.

 Happy Birthday, Qannik!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Anana heads to Detroit

 It has been announced to the public that Anana of the Cincinnati Zoo will be moving very soon to the Detroit Zoo, to the Arctic Ring of Life. This weekend is the last chance to see her before she goes north.

Anana in the pool, with Little One strolling by
In Detroit, Anana will meet up with 7 year old female Suka and 15 year old male Nuka. For the past two breeding seasons, Suka has gotten pregnant and delivered cubs, but the cubs were stillborn or lived only a day. This shows that Nuka can father cubs, in any case, so it was thought that Anana would have a good chance of having a cub if she moves to Detroit. At age 20, her biological clock is ticking. The only other male polar bears in the U.S. who have fathered cubs and are still living are Suka's father Marty, and now Lee of the Columbus Zoo, with a new cub just born.  

Suka was born at the Toledo Zoo. Her twin brother Sakari is the mate of Anana's daughter Luna in Buffalo. Suka lived for a time in Madison Wisconsin, first with her brother Sakari, and then with Berit, longtime resident of the Cincinnati Zoo.

Nuka was born in Denver. His twin brother Koda is in Pittsburgh and his sister Cranbearry is in Anchorage Alaska. Nuka is the nephew of the late Rizzo, who lived at the Cincinnati Zoo for many years with Little One and Berit.

Anana being sassy

Anana in the water with her ball, while Little One does a little more srolling
 With Anana leaving Cincinnati, Little One, age 30, will be in retirement, which is rather sad, especially because he has no living relatives in the U.S., and has never fathered a cub. He does have a sister Satuki who lives in Japan, and she has never had cubs either.

Rescued circus bear Bärle spent happy years at the Detroit Zoo,
loving the grassy area especially.

Detroit Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life has two large areas that can be separated if need be, so Anana can be on her own on one side while she gets accustomed to her new place.

There is a rolling meadow so big that you can't see it all at once, only by walking along a trail to get to the other side. It has caves, a lovely pool, and wildflowers. 

The Arctic Ring of Life in Detroit has a Tundra area,
 which looks like a frozen landscape.

The Tundra area offers a large diving pool with a marvelous view tunnel for visitors, and the sea lions are right there, seeming to share the pool but in fact separated by an invisible barrier. Talini's mother Bärle taught her to hunt sea lions there at the zoo, and Talini would make a game of it. The sea lions loved to tease her. Maybe Anana will learn the seal hunt game too.

Talini in her seal hunting days at the Detroit Zoo. She is in Chicago now.

The viewing tunnel in Detroit
Suka, left, lived in Madison Wisconsin for a time with Berit,
 formerly of the Cincinnati Zoo.

Suka's favorite game is basketball. She will spend hours tossing a ball about, diving down to get it, and balancing the ball.
Suka playing underwater ball, her favorite game, in Detroit

Nuka is a private bear. He often stays inside, and you are lucky if he comes out to greet you. He doesn't spend much time playing in the pool. 

The Detroit Zoo has a great staff of volunteer docents, and someone is always in the polar bear tunnel to tell you about the bears and answer your questions.

After Anana leaves, Little One will no doubt be more quiet. She really made him feel young and active again. He will really miss her.

Here are some memories of Anana and Little One and their time together in Cincinnati. 

Anana eats lunch, but Little One only has interest in Anana.

Halloween is fun in Cincinnati, with pumpkins every weekend for Anana

Springtime and in love. Anana and Little One

Mr. and Mrs. Anana bear

Watermelon treat for Anana

Carrot - food or toy for Anana

Anana brought her own toys with her

Apples for snack

Anana hogs the ball
Fighting or playing. Little One enjoyed his time with lovely little Anana
Farewell Anana. We will see you in Detroit! You will love it there.