|Is Anana dreaming of getting to know Little One a little better?
It has been well over a year since Anana came to live with Little One at the Cincinnati Zoo, and it has been a rocky road to love. But now, after a year of hissing and growling and grufting at each other, There are signs of amiability, even friendship.
The keepers (and everyone else) are hoping for a love match between the two, which might result in cubs. Little One and Anana are related to very few of the other zoo bears, and as such, their genes are especially valuable.
In addition, 17 year old Anana has proven fertility, She has a five year old daughter named Luna living in Buffalo. Little One has never fathered a cub. At age 28, he needs to get busy with that.
The zoo has volunteers who sit by the polar bears, writing down all the bears' activities on clip boards. They are researching the road to romance for this pair, and so far, this year looks hopeful. Breeding season is just beginning. Last spring, these two bears were very unfriendly. This year, things have improved.
I have been told that in Buffalo, Anana was slow to warm to Nanuq, an older bear who eventually fathered Luna. Maybe Anana just takes awhile to get to know a new suitor.
Here is what I found when I visited Anana and Little One today, Valentine's Day, a good day for romance.
|Anana gives Little One a friendly kiss
|Anana runs away, while Little One looks on admiringly
|The two bears take turns pursuing each other.
|Little One submits, while Anana nuzzles him
|Little One smiles at Anana's friendliness
|They take turns with the rolly toy Here, Anana plays.
|Taking turns sniffing
|Looking at the papparazzi.
|A little love bite
|Little One looks longingly at Anana
|Little One sniffs Anana here
|And sniffs Anana there
|Happy Bears at last