Qannik gobbles up some frozen treats
on her birthday at the Louisville Zoo
Wildborn Qannik's exact birthday is a mystery, but January 10 was a good guess. Somewhere in the wilds of Alaska, her twin sister is also turning 10, if she survived. Back in 2011, the mother bear and her twin daughters were tagged, and Qannik still has a good sized hole in her ear from those early days.
|The hole in her ear, where Qannik was tagged as a cub,|
can still be seen
Since the arrival of Qannik at Louisville Zoo, the Ice Princess has enjoyed some wonderful birthday parties. For this year's party, held on January 9, the keepers went with a fun Donut theme.
Qannik and her reflection in the big pool at Glacier Run
|Qannik sit in front of her favorite window and delights her fans, |
as she waits for her party to start at Glacier Run
With the widespread publication of adorable baby photos by zoo photographer John Gomes, Qannik became an internet sensation. The international polar bear community had been devastated by the tragic death of Knut in the Berlin Zoo in March of 2011, and everyone was cheered by news of the miraculous rescue of this little cub in the wilds of Alaska. In late June of 2011, she was flown to her new home in Glacier Run in the Louisville Zoo. It took quite awhile before she could meet her public. The windows of the smaller enclosure were covered with paper, so she could get used to the space in private. They removed bits of the paper, a little at a time. I finally was able to visit her in September, and some of the windows were still covered.
Baby Qannik in September of 2011 at Glacier Run.
She loved rocking in this barrel toy.
|On January 9, just before her party, Qannik roams the overhead crossing,|
while her keepers set up her donut party by the big pool.
|There was a lot of press coverage of Qannik's party.|
Very few members of the public were present, as they hadn't really told anyone. Everyone was wearing a mask.
We all sang Happy Birthday to Qannik.
|One of the keepers spreads peanut butter onto a block,|
which would hold the paper birthday sign.
|A new giant pickle and a jolly ball were Qannik's birthday gifts.|
The grizzly bears had destroyed her old pickle from an earlier birthday.
|Qannik snacks on a piece of pumpkin|
|Enjoying the party|
|How do you eat these ice pops?|
|She discovers the marshmallows|
|MMM, yummy marshmallows|
|Colored cardboard pieces were glued on with peanut butter,|
so Qannik eats those too. All the colors were safe to eat, and it is fine for a polar bear to eat a little cardboard, the keepers told me.
This one is flavored with blueberry
|The cardboard donuts on the tree had peanut butter too,|
but here she goes for a bigger donut on the ramp.
|More paper donuts and apple slices on the tree.|
|Whoops! She knocked the tree down.|
A note on Lee:
Qannik has always been on her own. The grizzly bear family, Otis, Rita and Inga, were at Glacier Run when Qannik arrived, and rotate through the two enclosures, and the downstairs bedrooms. Old lady bear Arki, grandmother of Siku, was already in Glacier Run with Qannik arrived. She passed away in 2013. Young Siku, a 2 year old male at the time, arrived shortly after Qannik in the fall of 2011, but the two were never together, and he moved to Lincoln Park Zoo in 2016.