Saturday, July 3, 2021

Kulu is one big baby


Aunt Anana on the left greets her twin sister Aurora,
 while Kulu peeks between

Visitors to the Columbus Zoo are amazed by the size of 19 month old polar bear cub Kulu. Compared to his mom and his aunt, who live with him, it isn't easy to tell them apart by size alone. You can tell it is Kulu by his cubbish ways, his never ending play.  Aurora can be told from the others by the dark paint on her paw, and by the "milk bar" since baby Kulu, heavier than his mom, is still nursing. 

Kulu's father Lee has moved to the Louisville Zoo.

Young Kulu leads his mom Aurora

Kulu, the only zoo polar bear cub in the US born in 2019, is just over a year and a half old, and is heavier than his mother Aurora and her twin Sister Anana. All three share the glorious enclosure at the Columbus Zoo. I have gotten several weight numbers on him, but all put him at about 600 pounds, very heavy for such a young bear. Aunt Anana weighs just a few pounds less, and mother Aurora, still nursing, is well under the weight of either. 

Sometimes Kulu likes to play close to his mom.

Kulu is pretty independent, so his mother can nap and watch him from a distance while he plays. He runs over to touch base with her every once in awhile.

Kulu top, Anana below

But now Kulu has his playful Aunt Anana to spend time with, and these two love to play. Anana knows how to deal with a cub, as she is mother to Amelia Gray, now almost five years old and living in Maryland with Aurora's daughter Neva of the same age. Aurora is also mother to Nora, almost six years old and living in the Oregon Zoo, and Neva's twin Nuniq, living in Kansas City. 

Mother Aurora and Kulu on shore,
while Anana stations herself in the prime spot for
 the Keeper Talk/ Snack Time.

When it was feeding time, and a keeper climbed up to the roof to throw down some goodies, Mother Aurora held back, staying on the shore, while Anana stationed herself right under the keeper, waiting for the best bits.

Mother Aurora and Kulu wait on shore for the coming snacks.

Soon Kulu jumped in to get what he could, but Aurora stayed on shore. Anana seems to be in charge of the snacks. The keepers always throw treats to Aurora on shore, since she refuses to go into the water. They got some fish, sweet potatoes and lettuce.

Kulu asks Mom to jump in.  Mom stays put.

Kulu knows to get the best snacks,
 he should swim up to the viewing window.  

Aurora and Anana's late grandmother Arki was particularly fond of lettuce.

Enough lettuce for all!

A little water fight between Aunt Anana and Kulu

Kiss and make up. Kulu is on the right. The reflections at the viewing window make photography a challenge sometimes.

Aurora still on shore. Kulu and Anana ask her to come in to play.
But no

Lettuce or toy? Kulu wants both.

Anana and Kulu at the window

Kulu goes off to play by himself. He likes this ball. 

Kulu stalks the ball, ready to pounce.

And he pounces. It is a natural behavior necessary
for hunting seals in the wild

While her sister Anana takes a nap, and her son Kulu plays on his own, Mother Aurora enjoys some peace and quiet in the shade. Note the dark spot on her paw, so keepers can tell the sisters apart.


  1. Dear Molly!
    What a charming report! I had a good laugh reading that Anana, Aurora and Kulu love lettuce. I remember how Knut reacted when he was served lettuce. It was 'returned to sender'. :-)))- I wish you and the three beautiful, wonderful polar bears a happy Summer time!
    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Dear Molly
    Great to be with you back at Columbus Zoo. Kulu is obviously getting first class care. His aunt seems to be a great playmate. Three gorgeous PolarBears