|Neva in front, Nuniq in back, with party leftovers
from Amelia's birthday the previous day.
The Columbus cubs are celebrating their first birthdays this week.
|Anana and daughter Amelia Gray
Amelia Gray was treated to a party by her keepers on Wednesday, November 8.
|Nuniq and Neva
Nuniq and Neva are celebrating today, Tuesday, November 14. Like Amelia, they each had a fish meal cake decorated with krill frosting, in a box. They also had colorful ice bucket pops with fish inside. New toys: oblong balls were emblazoned with their names. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to the cubs.
|Aurora and the twins enjoy fishy ice pops during their birthday party, which was broadcast live on the zoo's Facebook page.
|Aurora catches a trout
|Nuniq promptly runs over to steal the fish from his mom Aurora
All three cubs have grown and developed in the past year. All three of them have been observed catching the live trout swimming in their pool, although Nuniq usually waits until his mother Aurora catches a fish, and then steals it.
Amelia Gray weighs 291 pounds.She sometimes plays alone, but often swims and plays with her mother Anana. It is lovely to see how bonded mother and daughter are.
|Nuniq and Neva
|Nuniq in front, Neva in the sun
The twins are very different in appearance, weight and temperament. Here's a little video. Click on the link.
|Nuniq with his orange ball
The boy Nuniq is quite hefty at 397 pounds and has a much broader face. When he is in the water, he seems to be always aware of the visitors, playing with them against the windows and coming face to face with his fans in the underwater viewing area. Like his late father Nanuq, he is laid back, and just goes with the flow. When he sees his mom or sister playing with something, he likes to join in or at least see what they are doing. Nuniq is food motivated, so he is always looking for his next snack.
|Neva on her favorite rock
Little girl Neva is quick and agile at 247 pounds. When she swims, she slices through the water like a fish, graceful as a ballerina, and not all that aware of the people watching her. She swims for the joy of it. I saw her playing underwater with a mouse that she had found. She is very bold and independent. Neva is driven by curiosity and is always doing something. This little sister is good at catching the live trout that swim in the big pool. She is a little diva, says keeper Ellie. As for food, she is not as interested as her brother, and often wanders off to play instead of eat.
|Neva is fascinated by the water spout in the small pool
|Neva gets a little bit dirty
While polar bear twins usually are inseparable in their first year, Nuniq and Neva are rather independent, and often play away from each other and their mother. The three of them run about the enclosure, each with their own agenda and games.
|Nuniq gets very dirty
Nuniq looks much like his late father Nanuq, and loves to roll in the dirt just as his dad did. Nanuq died at the old age of 29 last April. Nuniq is his only male cub, but Nanuq, who was wild born, is also the father of Luna, Nora and of course Amelia Gray and Neva.
|Nuniq's fascinating eyes
Nuniq has hypnotic brown wees the like of which I have not seen in other bears. There is a glow and a curiosity about his gaze.
|Anana and Amelia Gray
Mother Anana has a little trick to catching the live fish, and she has taught this trick to daughter Amelia. When the keepers throw fish food into the water, Anana will take some into her mouth, and when the fish come to nibble, she catches them.
|Nuniq shakes it off
Visitors to the Columbus Zoo are very lucky in that the only three cubs born in U.S. Zoos this past year are all in Columbus. The two families rotate on alternate days in the big public yard. One day you will see Anana and her daughter Amelia, and the next you will see Aurora and the twins.
There is a video of Aurora and the twins. Aurora has caught a fish and Nuniq steals it. Neva has caught her own fish, and jumps in the water.
Neva in front, Nuniq laying down, and Mother Aurora in the back
The previous year, only two cubs were born in U.S. zoos. One was Nora in Columbus and the other was her Aunt Hope, who is sister to Aurora and Anana, born in Toledo. Nora and Hope are now two years old and have just moved in together at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.