Friday, October 2, 2020

Cousins Nanuk and Nanook come to town


Nanook of Gelsenkirchen 

Nanuk, is Inuit for ice bear or polar bear, and thus some variation of the name seems very popular when it comes to naming those cute little cubs. 

But I believe every bear should have a unique name, which shouldn't be too hard since there are so few of them in zoos. Still, they duplicate names.

Nanuq in Mulhouse, France 

Now we have a situation where two young bears who are first cousins, with almost the same name, are moving in together, along with Giovanna in Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich.

Giovanna with her daughter Quintana in Hellabrunn 

Quintana, Giovanna's three year old daughter by the late Yoghi, has just moved to Zoo La Fleche in France,  and the polar bear habitat in Munich is quite roomy, with tundra and taiga areas. Two other young female bears have been invited to make it their home. In fact, they have just arrived.

Nanook, with her mother Lara in the water, in Gelsenkirchen ZOOM

Nanook is the daughter of Bill and Lara, and was born in Gelsenkirchen ZOOM December 4, 2017. Bill came from Zoo Brno in the Czech Republic, and is the son of Cora and the late Umka. Lara was born in Vienna in 2004 and is the daughter of Olinka and Eric. Nanook is the only cub so far from Bill and Lara.

Sesi and Baby Nanuq 

Baby Nanuq in Mulhouse, France

Nanuq was born in Mulhouse, France November 7, 2016. Her father is Vicks, son of Olinka and Eric, born in Rotterdam Zoo in 2010 and her mother is Sesi, daughter of Freedom and the late Victor, born in Ouwehands Zoo, both in the Netherlands. Nanuq is the first and only cub from Vicks and Sesi so far.

Sesi and Nanuq 

Nanuq's father Vicks 

Thus Nanook's mother Lara is sister to Nanuq's father Vicks so they are first cousins. 

The Munich zoo plans to give Nanuq a new name, so there won't be any confusion.

All polar bears have a unique number assigned to them too, and in recent years, they all get a microchip so with just a little scanning, keepers can know they have the right bear.

Giovanna in Munich 

Giovanna is also mother to Nela and Nobby, born in 2013. Nela is in Emmen Wildlife Park in the Netherlands, and Nobby is in Yorkshire Wildlife Park in the UK. 


Giovanna is not totally unrelated to the new girls. She was born in Fasano, Italy, and her father, (Italian) Felix, was the son of Gorki and Polly. Polly's sister Aika and the same Gorki were parents of Eric, who was father of Olinka, grandmother of both Nanuq and Nanook. 

Thus Gorki is grandfather to Giovanna, and great grandfather to both Nanuq and Nanook.

Giovanna is also known as the childhood companion of the famous late Knut in the Berlin Zoo, where she was sent while Zoo Hellabrunn was building their wonderful polar bear habitat in Munich.

Olinka of Rotterdam Zoo, mother of Lara and Vicks (among others)

There is an American connection too, as Nanuk and Nanook are both descended from the famous Olaf and Olga of the Omaha Zoo, through their Son Omaha, who is the father of Olinka,  who is the mother of Nanuq's father Vicks, and Nanook's mother Lara. 

The right side habitat in Munich has a large grassy area with a stream running through, and lots of hills and trees. The left  side is rocky, with stones to climb on, and a nice big pool for swimming. Both sides are glassed in, and can be separated, or the door can be left open so all three bears eventually can be together.