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!


  1. Спасибо за чудесный репортаж и красивые фотографии

  2. Thank you so much for sharing the story on your Shilka, my life facebook page, Oxana. And the translation! We have such a wonderful worldwide network of polar bear fans.


  3. Great Party and a wonderful birthday girl.
    Happy BEARsday Qannik!

    Thank you Molly!

    Greetings from Nuremberg