|Sakari in his great new home
|Luna, born and raised at the Buffalo Zoo
Luna and Sakari, the young polar bear couple at the Buffalo Zoo, had very different starts in life. And now they are together in the brand new Arctic Edge exhibit, and seem very excited about each other.
|Luna from the backside, Sakari across the way,
in the large new polar bear home at the Buffalo Zoo
Both will be five years old in November.
|Luna at the Arctic Edge pool
|Luna is very round and fluffy, like her mother Anana
Shortly before Luna's birth, her father Nanuq left the Buffalo Zoo to live at the Columbus Zoo. Soon after Luna's birth, Anana was shipped off to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. It seemed as if there were no polar bears left at the Buffalo Zoo, just when the zoo was beginning its push to tear down the old bear pits built in the 1890s and build a new $14 million 35,000 square foot state of the art polar bear home called Arctic Edge.
|One of the old 1890s Buffalo Zoo bear pits in a photo from 2013.
They were torn down and replaced with the magnificent Arctic Edge.
But then surprise! The snowy little cub Luna made her public debut in early March of 2013, along with a campaign called "Keep Our Bears in Buffalo" to raise funds for the Arctic Edge. As a cub, her needs were simple. She didn't need a regular polar bear enclosure. She romped in the snow and played with toys as her keepers kept an eye on her. She was a big hit with the public as she grew and thrived.
|Luna as a cub
Luna, so named because she was born under a full moon, was one of only three cubs born in American zoos that year. The other two were twins Suka and Sakari, born in Toledo.
|Luna and Kali playing in Buffalo
In May, Luna was joined by a rescued orphaned cub from Alaska named Kali. Luna had now had a real play mate! She and Kali lived together in a small enclosure near the zebras. They had a pool and lots of toys. People were lined up to see this cute little pair. As they grew, the pair needed more space and the new polar bear habitat at the Buffalo Zoo was not even started yet, so the cubs were moved to one of the tiger enclosures, where they alternated with the tigers, day and night. Construction on Arctic Edge started in March of 2014.
|Luna loves the mud pile by her pool
|Entrance to the Arctic Edge, home of polar bears, American Bald Eagles, Arctic Foxes and an elusive Lynx.
|There are plenty of landscaping features in the polar bear home to make life interesting
|Luna on a rock
|Luna between the rocks
|Crystal with Suka and Sakari
|Suka and Sakari as little cubs
|Sakari and Suka in Toledo, ready to leave home
When they were nearly two years old, the twins moved to the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they shared the habitat with good natured brothers Neil and Buzz. In the summer of 2015, Suka and Sakari moved to the brand new large and grassy Arctic Passage at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison Wisconsin.
|Suka and Sakari in Madison
Brother Sakari and Sister Suka had much fun playing and swimming. Sakari especially was growing up fast, is is a very big boy now. Last November, on the same day that Luna's mother moved to Cincinnati, Berit, the female bear in Cincinnati, moved up to Wisconsin to be Suka's companion, and Sakari moved to Buffalo to be with Luna.
|Sakari and his stick
Luna enjoys it up to a point, and then she runs away.
|There is a giant picture window
|Sakari has lots of room to roam
|A view of the underground connecting tunnels
|Luna enters the underground tunnel connecting the two habitats
|Sakari and Luna play in the water
|Luna enjoys playing with the children through the glass too. The kids love it!
|Sakari shaking it off!
|Stepping over the log is good exercise for Sakari
|A favorite stick for Sakari
|The best toys are simple
|More fun with the stick
|Sakari roaming around