Sunday, September 2, 2018

Qannik in Summer

Qannik has grown into a water lover
 We all remember the little round roly poly cub Qannik, who was rescued from Alaska's North Slope when she was a tiny 13 pound starving baby in the winter of 2011. Now she is almost eight years old.

Qannik in her early days at the Louisville Zoo

Little Qannik not long after her arrival at the Louisville Zoo.

Qannik was hand raised, first at the Alaska Zoo and later at the Louisville Zoo.

After several months recovering and gaining weight at the Alaska Zoo, she was flown to the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky, where she still lives and swims and plays.

Qannik this summer. She has slimmed down quite a bit

Qannik has come a long way from the little fluffball I first visited in the early fall of 2011. Now she is a sleek young lady bear of seven and a half years old. 

Qannik this summer

Since her friend Siku left for Chicago, Qannik has been the only polar bear in Louisville, but she shares the habitat, alternating with a family of grizzly bears. 

Qannik comes up the steps from the moat
Rotating the bears in the two enclosures gives great enrichment, as they can smell the previous occupants, and search out places the other bears have left their scent.

Young Siku at the ramp at Glacier Run in 2013
For a number of years, Siku lived at the Louisville Zoo, and was a part of the rotation. As a young male bear, he longed to play with Qannik, but they were never together, although they saw each other across the way. Siku has since moved to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

Qannik loves those hunks of wood. They float!

The Louisville Zoo is a pioneer in rotating habitats as a way of adding enrichment and excitement for the animal residents.

Qannik peers into the hidey hole in her underwater  playground.
She left a treasure in there, apparently.
 Qannik may have grown up, but she still likes to place various objects in her "hidey hole" in the big pool, and then retrieve them. And then she does it all over again.

Investigating the contents of the secret hiding place...

For a time, Qannik was slowing down, having put on maybe a little too much weight. She was sleeping more and playing less. But now she has slimmed down and has plenty of energy to swim.

A piece of driftwood, just right for hiding in the secret hole.
If she doesn't get it jammed in just right, it will float up again.
As a rescued wild polar bear, Qannik remains the property of Fish and Wildlife, and there are some recent regulations that prevent the breeding of wild bears, so she has never been in an enclosure with another polar bear. Qannik was near Siku and Arki, and could see and smell them, but was never allowed to play with them. Siku had always shown great interest in Qannik, but Qannik had been indifferent, so when Siku left, it didn't impact her very much.

She loves her drifwood.
Qannik loves spending time in her big deep diving pool, playing with driftwood, mostly, She especially likes pieces of wood that are small enough to hide in her underwater secret place.

Big enough to play with, but too big to hide.

Glacier Run is designed to give the bears plenty of climbing opportunities. There are stairs and ramps so the bears keep those back leg muscles strong. 

Qannik peeks up to see if her keepers have some treats to throw down.

The big pool is especially great for visitors, with a huge window for prime underwater viewing, and many side windows around the enclosure.

Diving after her prize driftwood.

The underwater viewing area at Glacier Run gives a fantastic view
of Qannik's underwater adventures.

Churning up the bubbles.

Face to face, underwater.

Qannik plays with the underside of an artificial iceberg.
She has soooo many toys.

Qannik views her visitors.

Blowing bubbles

Qannik looks cute and fluffy,
 but here you can see the size of her polar bear teeth.

  I noticed that she did pace a bit, with a neck twist.  But then she was back to swimming. 

Pacing a bit

A bit of a neck twist, as Qannik turns in her pacing routine.

Qannik on the move
The keepers change her schedule, her toys, her daily routine all the time, to avoid the stereotypical behavior, such as seen with Arki. They will move things about the enclosure, to interrupt pacing as well. Qannik paces rarely, but polar bears are made to walk, and all polar bears will pace at times. 

Later on Qannik was inside in Polar Bear Alley, and mostly napping.

Qannik stretching

Qannik is given a variety of bedding materials,
 with different textures and scents, for enrichment.


Qannik posing for the paparazzi.

Qannik lounging around

Qannik close up.
 One of her ears still has the hole from being tagged when she was a tiny cub.

Qannik stretches some more.

Qannik smiles

1 comment:

  1. Qannik did such a lot to help us when Knut was lost. She is wonderful bear and I have kept copies of her tweets, which are a model for other tweeters, (no names of course)