Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Astra at play - Fun with a stick

Astra, now 8 months old, is very entertaining to watch

Introducing Astra! She is the daughter of Suka and Nuka of the Arctic Ring of Life at the Detroit Zoo, and she is amazing.

I have been waiting a long time for a real zoo trip, so I ventured out and drove up to Detroit in early August to see Suka and her 8 month old daughter daughter Astra. Also at the Detroit Zoo is father Nuka, and secretly hidden away is Astra's twin sister Laerke, whom no one sees but her caretakers. Laerke the mystery sister comes out to play in the Tundra meadow when the zoo is empty of visitors.

But at least I got to see Astra (and her parents). There is very little down time with this little girl. After running and swimming all morning, she finally settled down to nurse in the early afternoon.

While the Detroit Zoo does provide some toys and balls for the polar bears in the Artic Ring of Life, the large grassy meadow keeps Astra interested and active, and there are some natural playthings too.

Suka nursing her daughter by the rocky Inuksuk
(rocky piles traditionally built by the Inuit).

A glance at Father Nuka in the neighboring area

Astra finds something interesting

Mother Suka takes the opportunity to relax, while Astra is distracted

What is it?

Astra has found a stick

A happy moment

A stick is good for chewing.

Babies like to put everything into their mouths.

Astra compares the little stick to the big log.

The little stick is more fun. You can move it around.

How tall is my mother? I will measure her with my stick.

Hold still, mother. I am measuring your butt.

Now I will see how tall I am.

I see something else to chew on. Oops, it's Mom's foot.

There is much more to the story of Suka and Nuka and their twins, and how Astra spends her days, but I will save that for my next story.


Suka and Astra on one side of the divide,
and Papa Nuka on the other side.


  1. Dear Molly,

    Thank you for this charming article of lovely polar bears! It's no wonder sweet Astra is every visitor's darling. Mama Suka and papa Nuka are, naturally, very sweet, too!

    Hugs from Mervi

  2. Molly What a lovely family. Astra is definitely making good use of her natural toys.