Monday, February 27, 2023

40 polar bears in 2023 in U.S. zoos


Crystal and her cubs in the den in Toledo

In commemoration of International Polar Bear Day on February 27, 2023, here's an update of the polar bears in zoos in the USA.

A few bears have moved, we have lost some precious polars, and there are some young ones. 

We now have 20 zoos holding 40 polar bears - 21 females and 19 males (updated).

Sad losses

33 year old Berlin, the oldest US zoo polar bear at the time of her death, died January 11, 2023 in the Kansas City Zoo. She and her twin brother the late Yukon were born in 1989 in the Cincinnati Zoo. She lived much of her life in the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth Minnesota until it was flooded in 2012. She escaped but was recovered and spent some time in the Como Zoo before going to Kansas City.

Berlin during her time at the Como Zoo
                                         (photo by my daughter Corinna Troth)

15 year old Anana, daughter of Crystal and the late Marty, and twin sister of Aurora, died in the Columbus Zoo October 12, 2022. She had been born in Toledo, and was the mother of Amelia Gray.

Anana with daughter Amelia Gray
in 2017 in the Columbus Zoo.

Blizzard, a wildborn rescued cub, died at age 26 in May of 2022, at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma Washington, after a battle with cancer. He shared much of his life with Boris, the rescued circus bear.

Marty of the Toledo Zoo

Marty, father and grandfather of almost all the younger generation of bears, died in the Toledo Zoo on November 4, 2021, just short of his 25th birthday. He had been born in the Brookfield Zoo.

Snow Lily in 2013 at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

 37 year old Snow Lily died September 24, 2021, at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She was the oldest of our bears at the time. The Milwaukee County Zoo now has no polar bears. 

Anana, front, died in February of 2021 at the Detroit Zoo. Little One, behind Anana, died a month later in Cincinnati.


    Anana, born in Salt Lake City, died February 8, 2021, in another tragic loss. Luna's mother Anana had moved from Cincinnati to Detroit in early 2020, and on February 8, 2021, was found dead of heart failure. She was so young at just 20 years. At first it was thought that gentle Nuka was responsible, for Anana had some bloody wounds around her head and neck, but an autopsy confirmed that the wounds were superficial, and Nuka was just trying to awaken his dead princess. 

Little One died March 21, 2021, at age 31 the oldest male polar bear at the time. The Cincinnati Zoo now has no polar bears. The area is being rebuilt as a North American habitat with black bears expected to be in residence. 

Buzz in Como Zoo, 2016.

Buzz, twin brother of Neil, died at the age of 24 in August of 2020 at Como Zoo in St. Paul Minnesota. Brother Neil still lives at Como, now with two other bears. The twin brothers were born in the Louisville Zoo December 9, 1995.

Blizzard and Boris at Point Defiance Zoo in 2018

Boris, the rescued circus bear and last survivor of the Suarez Six, died in September of 2020 in the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma Washington. Boris had been born in Rostock, Germany. Despite his many years of suffering in the Mexican circus, he lived to the ripe old age of 34.

Moving around

Maryland has sent its two young girls to other zoos, and the grizzly bears have taken over the polar bear habitat at the Maryland Zoo. They no longer have polar bears. Amelia Gray has moved to Portland where she now lives with her sister/cousin Nora, previously of Salt Lake City. Neva moved from the Maryland Zoo to Salt Lake City, where she now lives with Nikita. 

Hope, who lived in Salt Lake City with niece Nora, was moved to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, where she now lives with Hudson.

Nikita moved from the North Carolina Zoo to the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. Payton moved from the Memphis Zoo to take his place in North Carolina.

Nuniq moved from the Henry Vilas Zoo to the Kansas City Zoo. Bo, growing up, moved from the Toledo Zoo to the Henry Vilas Zoo to be with Berit.

Kulu left his mom Aurora in Columbus and moved to the Como Zoo in St. Paul Minnesota, where he lives with the two oldest bears, Nan and Neil.

Fewer zoos with polar bears

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska gave up its great history of polar bear keeping several years ago, sending elderly Bam Bam to Kansas City, where she later died.  There are now no polar bears in Omaha.

The Maryland Zoo has given up polar bear keeping, with the departure of Amelia Gray and Neva.

With the death of Little One, there are no more polar bears at the Cincinnati Zoo. The Bear Hill area is being remade into a North American Habitat.

With the death of Snow Lily, the Milwaukee County Zoo has no polar bears.

Not that many years ago, there were polar bears in San Francisco, Denver, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, SeaWorld San Diego, Tucson, Providence RI, Worcester MA, Bronx Zoo and more. Now habitats are greatly improved, but there are fewer of them. Some zoos in the past might have had eight or more polar bears; now a zoo is lucky to have just one.

New habitats

In positive news, the Oregon Zoo in Portland has reopened its newly refurbished polar bear area, and Amelia Gray of the Maryland Zoo has joined her sister/cousin Nora there. Both girls were born in Columbus. 

The Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma Washington, lost old Boris and then Blizzard, and the polar bear area was empty, but the news is that they are rebuilding a better polar bear habitat and plan to welcome new residents this year.

Some Statistics

Of the 19 living males, only two have fathered cubs: Lee is father of Kulu, and has just rejoined Aurora in Columbus in time for breeding season. Nuka is father of Astra and Laerke in Detroit, and spent the last year in Toledo, where he fathered another set of twins with Crystal. He has just left Toledo, and although his destination was not announced, the plan always was to bring Nuka back to Detroit. 

Three males, Kiska, Koluk and Neil, had been neutered many years ago.

Of the 21 living females, four have given birth: Nan (who is too old now), Crystal, and Crystal's daughters Aurora and Suka. 

Eight polar bear cubs have been raised by keepers to some degree: Luna of the Buffalo Zoo (rejected by her mother Anana), Kali of the St. Louis Zoo (orphaned cub rescued in Alaska), Qannik of the Louisville Zoo (rescued cub in Alaska), Nora of the Portland Zoo (mother Aurora neglected her), and Laerke of the Detroit Zoo (mother Suka raised one cub, but smaller cub was failing, needed medical help). Twins Tatqiq and Kalluk, and Chinook, all three of San Diego, were rescued in the wilds of Canada as cubs.

In addition, the newly arrived unnamed male yearling at the Alaska Zoo is being raised by keepers.

Seven of our US zoo bears were born in the wilds of Canada or Alaska: Nan of Como, the three bears in San Diego (Chinook, Tatqiq and Kalluk), Qannik of Louisville, Kali of St. Louis, and the new unnamed rescued cub at the Alaska Zoo. Qannik, Kali and the new cub, as property of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, cannot be part of the breeding program.

Supermom Crystal is the only polar bear we have who was born overseas, specifically Belgium. Currently, it is not permitted to import polar bears from other countries. Crystal's sister Blanche still lives in Monde Sauvage in Aywaille, Belgium, and Crystal has nieces and nephews in Belgium, Denmark and France.

The Oldest...


                            Nan and friend in 2014 in Toledo

28 year old Nan, short for Nanuyaak, was born in the Alaskan wilderness in late 1994.  She lived in Toledo for many years, is the mother of Nikita, and now lives in the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

27 year old Chinook was born in the wild in Manitoba Canada in 1995. She came to the San Diego Zoo when she was about a year old. 

27 year old Snowflake was born November 28, 1995 in the Buffalo Zoo. She had spent most of her life at SeaWorld San Diego with her late German friend Szenja, with several periods in the Pittsburgh Zoo with male Koda, and now lives alone in Pittsburgh. 

26 year old Anoki lives in Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester NY, where she was born after living for some time in the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Neil in 2014 in Como Zoo

As for the males, 27 year old Neil of Como Zoo is the oldest. He and his twin brother Buzz were born in Louisville December 9, 1995. Sadly, his beloved twin brother Buzz died in August of 2020. 

26 year old Kiska and Koluk were born November 19, 1996 in Salt Lake City. Since 1997, they have lived in ABQ Biopark in Albuquerque NM. 

The Youngest...

Births in the past seven years, 7 girls and 3 boys (if my guess about Crystal's cubs is correct), are all children or grandchildren of Marty and Crystal in Columbus:

Nora in Columbus, daughter of Aurora and the late Nanuq in 2015.

Hope in Toledo, daughter of Crystal and Marty in 2015.

Amelia Gray in Columbus, daughter of Anana and the late Nanuq  in 2016.

Nuniq and Neva in Columbus, son and daughter of Aurora and the late Nanuq in 2016.

Kulu in Columbus, son of Aurora and Lee in 2019.

Astra and Laerke in Detroit, daughters of Suka and Nuka in 2020.

Boy Cub? and Girl Cub? in Toledo, with mother Crystal and father Nuka. No names yet, and the gender of Crystal's twins has not been announced, so I am just going with my best guess for the purpose of this survey, based on the shapes of their faces, sometimes a good indicator, sometimes not, that they are a boy and a girl. Update: It is TWO BOYS!

And then there is the rescued orphan in the Alaska Zoo, a boy, no name yet, but he is about a year old.

            Young Kulu, right with Nan at Como Zoo in 2022

Laerke on right, with grizzly friend Jebbie in 2021

My survey this time is by zoos, from west coast to east.


San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo still has its three wildborn bears, 27 year old Chinook and 22 year old twins brother Kalluk and sister Tatqiq.

Chinook was born in the wild in Manitoba Canada in 1995. She came to the San Diego Zoo when she was about a year old. Two years later, cubs Neil and Buzz from Louisville joined her in San Diego. In 2001, wildborn brother and sister twins Kalluk and Tatqiq joined the group, and at the end of 2001, Neil and Buzz left. Since then, Chinook, Kalluk and Tatqiq have formed a stable trio at the San Diego Zoo. Chinook has never had cubs.

Twins Tatqiq and her brother Kalluk were born in the wilds of Canada in the winter of 2000. They came to the San Diego Zoo as young cubs. It was decided that Chinook would be mate to Kalluk, and Tatqiq would stay with her brother as a playmate. The three bears all get along well. Tatqiq has been on birth control, and thus is unable to have cubs now. 

San Diego bears Kalluk, Chinook and Tatqiq 

You can watch Tatqiq, Kalluk and Chinook on the zoo's polar bear cam. 

Oregon Zoo

In the Oregon Zoo in Portland, following several years of construction to improve the habitat, two young bears have arrived.  Seven year old Nora, daughter of Aurora, was raised by keepers in Columbus and lived for several years in Portland, before moving to Salt Lake City, where she was companion to her Aunt Hope, who is the same age. Hope has now moved to Brookfield. Nora has returned to Portland, and was joined last year by her six year old sister/cousin Amelia Gray, also born in Columbus, and who has lived in the Maryland Zoo for the past few years. Amelia Gray is the daughter of Aurora's twin sister the late Anana. The late Nanuq is the father of both Amelia Gray and Nora. 

Nora in the Columbus Zoo in 2016

Alaska Zoo

21 year old Cranbearry lives on her own in the Alaska Zoo. She has never had cubs. Cranbearry is the older sister of twins Nuka and Koda, so she is the aunt of two year old cubs Astra and Laerke in Detroit, as well as the new cubs in Toledo. She was born in November 21, 2001 in Denver.

In November, a one year old orphaned cub was found alone in Prudhoe Bay, and brought to the Alaska Zoo, where he was quarantined and is being cared for. He has not been given a name yet. Since the Alaska Zoo only has Cranbearry, an older bear, I expect that they will want to keep the youngster as a permanent resident.   

Hogle Zoo

The Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City sent away young Nora and Hope, and welcomed 16 year old Nikita, who came from the North Carolina Zoo. Nora went to Portland and Hope went to Brookfield in Chicago. Nikita is the son of the late Marty and wildborn Nan. He was born November 21, 2006, in Toledo.

Newly arrived in Salt Lake City is six year old Neva, twin sister of Nuniq, who was born in Columbus Ohio on November 14, 2016. Neva and Nuniq were the offspring of Aurora and the late Nanuq. 

Nikita is the son of the late Marty, who was Neva's grandfather, which shows how limited the breeding pairings are in the U.S. 

ABQ Biopark 

In the ABQ Biopark (formely the Rio Grande Zoo) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we find the 26 year old Kiska and Koluk, twin brothers who have lived together all their lives. Kiska and Koluk were born November 19, 1996 in Salt Lake City. Since 1997 they have lived in the zoo in Albuquerque. Kiska and Koluk are brothers of the late Anana (of Buffalo, Cincinnati and Detroit), and half brothers of the late Aurora (mother of four) of Rochester, and of Denali (father of 8) of Sapporo Japan.

Kiska and Koluk in 2022


Kansas City Zoo

The Kansas City Zoo was home to Berlin, who just passed away at age 33. She leaves behind young Nuniq, six year old son of Aurora and the late Nanuq. Along with his twin sister Neva, Nuniq was born in the Columbus Zoo on November 14, 2016, to Crystal and Marty's daughter Aurora and the wildborn Nanuq, who was also father of Luna in Buffalo, as well as father of Aurora's first cub Nora, and Aurora's twin sister Anana's daughter Amelia Gray. 

Nuniq in 2017 in Columbus

St. Louis Zoo

Ten year old Kali was born in the Alaskan wilderness in late 2012. His mother was shot by a hunter, who realized there was a cub and tracked him down in his den. He was taken to the Alaska Zoo, kept there for a few months, and then flown to the Buffalo Zoo to be a companion for young Luna, who was being raised by hand. Kali now lives alone in a wonderful new habitat in the St. Louis Zoo. As a property of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, he cannot be part of the breeding program.

Kali in St. Louis in 2016, with his ice maker

Como Zoo

The Como Zoo in St. Paul Minnesota is still mourning the loss of Buzz, but his 27 year old twin brother Neil is being comforted by his new companion 28 year old Nan. Young Kulu is a new arrival there too. Como Zoo is home to the oldest female and the oldest male polar bears in the US, and also one of the youngest polar bears, Kulu.

Neil, Nan and Kulu in Como Zoo in 2022

28 years old Nan, short for Nanuyaak, was born in the Alaskan wilderness in late 1994. The cub was taken to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, where she stayed for five months.  She lived in the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma until she was six years old. Nan moved to the Toledo Zoo in 2001, where she gave birth to Nikita in 2006, with Marty as father, the same year Crystal gave birth to twins Aurora and Anana with Marty also as the father. Nan moved to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in 2017, where she lived with Marty's younger brother Hudson. Now she is in the Como Zoo in St. Paul Minnesota as companion to Neil, and now holds the honor of being the oldest polar bear in a US zoo. 

 Neil and Buzz were named after the first two humans to walk on the moon. They were born December 9, 1995 in the Louisville Zoo, then lived at the San Diego Zoo from 1997 to 2001. They have lived at Como Zoo in St. Paul Minnesota since then, except for a two year span in 2008-10 when they enjoyed living in Detroit while the Como Zoo polar bear habitat was being expanded and renovated. While they lived in Detroit, the boys loved playing with young cub Talini, daughter of rescued circus bear Bärle.

At Como Zoo, Neil and Buzz have played host to three grizzly bears from a flooded out Minot ND zoo. Later, they welcomed their niece Berlin, who also had escaped from a flooded zoo in Duluth. They shared their habitat with young twins Suka and Sakari while the cubs waited for their new exhibit at Henry Vilas to open.

Neil and Buzz come from the Louisville family of bears. Their older brother Icee was the father of twins Berlin and Yukon at the Cincinnati Zoo. Their older sister Ulu was the mother of Berit, longtime resident of the Cincinnati Zoo and current resident of Henry Vilas. Their parents also famously had rare triplets in Louisville in 1992, which included the late and much loved Aquila.  Neil and Buzz were neutered so they could stay together and not fight. At the time, it was thought their genes were well represented and there were plenty of polar bears. 

This lovely senior couple has recently been joined by youngster Kulu from the Columbus Zoo, now three years old. They all play together and have great fun. Kulu wears the oldsters out.

Kulu was born November 28, 2019 in the Columbus Zoo, a fourth cub for Aurora and a first for father Lee. Kulu's older half siblings are Nora, Neva and Nuniq, and Amelia Gray is his cousin.

Brookfield Zoo

Hudson and Hope are living together in the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Because of the limited gene pool. Hope, daughter of Marty and Crystal in Toledo, is paired with Marty's brother Hudson. That's right, Hudson is Hope's uncle.

Seven year old Hope was born in Toledo on December 3, 2015, to Marty and Crystal. She lived in the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City with her niece Nora of the same age for a few years and now is in Brookfield. She is sister to Aurora and Anana, Siku, Suka and Sakari, Bo, and is half sister to the new Toledo cubs and also to Nikita.

Hope in the Toledo Zoo in 2016

16 year old Hudson was born December 14, 2006, in Brookfield Zoo in Chicago to parents Aussie and Arki. Hudson still lives at Brookfield. Hudson is brother to Payton and the late Marty. 

Hudson in 2013 in Brookfield Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

The other zoo in Chicago, Lincoln Park, is home to Siku, son of Crystal and the late Marty, and Talini, born in Detroit to the late Bärle, a rescued circus bear, and the late Triton.

13 year old Siku was born at the Toledo Zoo on December 3, 2009 to Marty and Crystal. He moved to the Louisville Zoo, where he lived, separately but next to  wildborn Qannik, and now lives in the Lincoln Park Zoo with Talini. 

Siku in 2013 in the Louisville Zoo

Siku is brother to Aurora and the late Anana of Columbus, Suka of Detroit, Sakari of Buffalo, Bo of Henry Vilas in Wisconsin, and Hope of Brookfield. He is half brother of Nikita of Salt Lake City and also Crystal's new cubs.

18 year old Talini was something of a miracle child. She was born on November 22, 2004, in the Detroit Zoo to rescued circus bear Bärle, her first cub and at an advanced age of 20. Bärle raised Talini, teaching her to "hunt" seals in the habitat's  pools. Talini lived with Nuka for many years, but there were no cubs, so she was moved to Lincoln Park  in Chicago several years ago to be with Siku. Tests have shown that Talini will probably never become pregnant.

Talini hunting seals in Detroit

It is believed that Talini's mother Bärle was born wild in late 1984 in Manitoba Canada, where she was captured and taken into the East German circus. She performed with other polar bears in the East German Circus, until some of the bears were sold to a Mexican circus with terrible conditions. Bärle and five other bears, including Boris, were rescued in late 2002 in Puerto Rico by the U.S Government and she was taken in by the Detroit Zoo, where Bärle recovered from malnutrition and neglect.  Two years later, Talini was born.

Henry Vilas Zoo

The grassy meadows of the polar bear home in Madison Wisconsin is home to Berit and young Borealis (Bo), son of Crystal and the late Marty, while he grows up. Berit is mostly past breeding age, and is one of the female bears probably made barren by birth control in the early 2000's.

24 year old Berit  and her twin brother Ulaq were born in Denver on December 28, 1998. The twins came to the Cincinnati Zoo as young cubs. Ulaq died rather mysteriously when he was four years old, and it was attributed to liver failure. Berit lived happily in the Cincinnati Zoo with Rizzo and Little One for many years, but never got pregnant. She used to curl up with Rizzo to take naps, and missed her friend when she moved away. Berit moved to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison Wisconsin in 2016, first living with young girl cub Suka, and later with young Nuniq. Now she lives with young Bo. She is a playful babysitter for the young bears who come to live with her.

Four year old Bo, short for Borealis, was born December 9, 2018 at the Toledo Zoo. He is the son of Crystal and the late Marty. Crystal was born in Belgium. Marty and Crystal had seven cubs in Toledo, and now Crystal is raising another set of twins, fathered by Nuka. Bo is youngest brother to Aurora and the late Anana, as well as Siku, Suka and Sakari and Hope. 

Bo (left) and Berit in Henry Vilas in 2022

Memphis Zoo

Haley, daughter of the late Aurora and Yukon, has a new companion in Koda, who is the twin brother of proven breeder Nuka, who two years ago fathered twins in Detroit and just this year twins in Toledo. 

20 year old Haley was born November 15, 2002 to Aurora and Yukon in the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester New York. In 2005 she moved to the Brookfield Zoo where she was matched up with young Payton. The two of them moved to the Memphis Zoo in 2006. At the time, Cranbearry was living in Memphis, and stayed for four more years, but then Cranbearry moved to Denver, and is now in Alaska.  Haley and Payton never had cubs, and Payton has now moved to North Carolina. 

Haley in the Memphis Zoo in 2012

18 year old Koda and his twin brother Nuka were born November 25, 2004 in Denver, to parents Voda and Kavek. The twins moved to Pittsburgh when they were two years old. In 2011, Nuka moved to Detroit. In early 2021, Koda left Pittsburgh and came to Memphis. 

Toledo Zoo

Crystal, age 24, who is mother or grandmother of nearly all the younger bears in U.S. zoos, just did it again with the birth of twin boys. Crystal and the late Marty became parents of Aurora and the late Anana of Columbus, Siku of Lincoln Park, new mother Suka of Detroit and her twin brother Sakari of Buffalo, Hope of Brookfield, and Bo of Henry Vilas. Marty and Crystal are grandparents of Nora and Amelia Gray of Portland, Neva of Salt Lake City, Nuniq of Kansas City, Kulu of Como Zoo, and twins Laerke and Astra of Detroit.

Crystal with Suka and Sakari in 2013 in the Toledo Zoo

Crystal was born in November 10, 1998, in Monde Sauvage in Belgium. Her older sister Blanche was born in 1993, and is still there, never having left the zoo. Blanche is mother to son Nanook, now in Denmark, and daughter Qannik, who still lives with her mother, so these two are first cousins of all Crystal's cubs. Nanook is father to Danish Siku and Nuno in Denmark and Nanu in France, so Crystal has a niece and two nephews in Europe.  

Crystal's twins can be seen on a dencam set up by the Toledo Zoo.

The father of the twins, 18 year old Nuka, has just left the Toledo Zoo for another AZA zoo, although it has not been announced to where. But since the plan was always for Nuka to return to Detroit when Suka had weaned Astra, I expect that this is where he is. Also, there are only three proven fertile females in the US zoos. Crystal is busy with the twins, and Lee has just returned to Aurora in Columbus, so that just leaves Suka in Detroit.

Detroit Zoo

The Detroit Zoo is home to 10 year old Suka and probably 18 year old Nuka, and their twin daughters Astra and Laerke, 2020's only cubs in the USA, and none were born in 2021. Astra was raised by her mother, and twin sister Laerke was raised by keepers. For a time, a Grizzly cub named Jebbie came to Detroit as a playmate for Laerke, but he has grown too large and is now relocated to a sanctuary in Colorado. 

Papa Nuka looks over at Suka and Astra in 2021 in the Detroit Zoo

Nuka and his twin brother Koda were born November 25, 2004 in Denver, to parents Voda and Kavek. They both moved to Pittsburgh when they were two years old. In 2011, Nuka moved to Detroit as a mate for Talini. Then Talini moved to Lincoln Park, and Suka moved in. In 2020 Suka and Nuka welcomed twin daughters, Astra and Laerke.

In January of 2022, Nuka moved to Toledo to live with Suka's mother Crystal, whose longtime mate Marty had died. This would give more room Suka and her young cubs in Detroit. Now it seems that Nuka is ready to return.

Suka and  her twin brother Sakari were born November 21, 2012 in the Toledo Zoo to Marty and Crystal. The twins moved to Como Zoo in St. Paul, then to the new habitat at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison Wisconsin. Suka now lives at the Detroit Zoo. Before Astra and Laerke were born, Suka had given birth to cubs for the previous two seasons, but they did not survive. 

Columbus Zoo

Twin sisters 16 year old Aurora and Anana lived together all their lives, from the time they were born in Toledo, for several years in Pittsburgh and then their many years together at the Columbus Zoo. Tragically, Anana died last October.  The zoo's most recent male polar bear Lee had spent the past several years in Louisville, but now he has returned, so Aurora will not be alone. 

Aurora and Anana were born in the Toledo Zoo November 25, 2006, four days after Nan gave birth to Nikita in the den next door. The father was the same, Marty. The twins' mother was Crystal, who was born in Belgium. 

The Toledo Zoo was a busy place during those years, with Nan raising Nikita, and Crystal raising the twin girls. 

Twins Aurora and Anana moved to Pittsburgh in 2008, and to the new polar bear habitat at the Columbus Zoo in 2010. 

Aurora gave birth to Nora in 2015, who was raised by keepers.

In 2016, both sisters gave birth. Aurora had twins, Nuniq and Neva. Anana had Amelia Grey. The father of all four cubs was the late Nanuq, who had previously fathered Luna in the Buffalo Zoo with the late Anana.   Three years ago, Aurora gave birth again to a boy named Kulu with Lee as the father. 
Kulu moved to Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota in late 2021.

Mother Aurora with cubs Neva and Nuniq in the Columbus Zoo in 2017

23 year old Lee and his twin sister (North Carolina) Anana were born November 27, 1999, in Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester NY to Aurora and Yukon.

Lee has lived in Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago several times, in Milwaukee, in Detroit, and then in Denver with Cranbearry.  He moved to the Columbus Zoo in late 2018, and in 2019, Aurora gave birth to Kulu, a little boy cub, Lee's first.

Lee in the Louisville Zoo in 2021

Louisville Zoo

Now that Lee has left Louisville, it is just 12 year old Qannik there in Glacier Run, along with three grizzly bears. Wildborn rescued cub Qannik is the Ice Princess at the Louisville Zoo. As the Property of Fish and Wildlife, she cannot be part of the breeding program. 

Qannik at her birthday party in January of 2023 in Louisville Zoo

Qannik was born wild on the North Slope of the Alaska oilfields. She became separated from her mother and sister in a storm and was rescued and taken to the Alaska Zoo. A few months later, after she had gained some weight, she was flown to the Louisville Zoo where she still resides. Her birthday was assigned to her by Fish and Wildlife - as January 2010.  The Louisville Zoo always throws Qannik a big birthday party every January.


Pittsburgh Zoo

Snowflake is on her own in the Pittsburgh Zoo, since Koda moved to Memphis. She lived for quite a time in San Diego. Despite many efforts, she has never produced cubs.

Snowflake in SeaWorld San Diego in 2015

27 year old Snowflake was born November 28, 1995 in the Buffalo Zoo. She spent most of her life at SeaWorld San Diego with her late German friend Szenja, with several periods for breeding (unsuccessful) in the Pittsburgh Zoo. Since Szenja's death, Snowflake had lived in Pittsburgh with her nephew Koda. Since Koda recently moved to Memphis, Snowflake has been alone in Pittsburgh. Her parents were Herman II and Becky. Her brothers were Andy (father of the late Anana); Arturo, who had been sent to Argentina and was the object of many petitions to improve his conditions; and Kavek,  father of  Cranbearry of the Alaska Zoo and twins Koda and Nuka. Snowflake was sister of the late Rizzo, who lived in Cincinnati and Salt Lake City. 

Buffalo Zoo

Buffalo Zoo is home to Luna and Sakari.

Sakari in 2017 in the Buffalo Zoo

10 year old twins Suka (girl) and Sakari (boy) were born November 21, 2012 in the Toledo Zoo to Marty and Crystal. The twins moved to Como Zoo in St. Paul, then to the new habitat at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison Wisconsin. Sakari moved to Buffalo in 2016, and Suka moved to the Detroit Zoo in 2018. 

Luna in the Buffalo Zoo in 2017

10 year old Luna was born November 27, 2012 at the Buffalo Zoo, and never left. Her father the late Nanuq had already moved to Columbus, and her mother Anana promptly moved to Brookfield Zoo, while Luna's birth was kept secret. Luna was raised by keepers. She was soon joined by a rescued Alaskan boy cub, Kali, as a playmate. During this time, the old bear pits were torn down, and a beautiful new polar bear habitat was built. Kali moved to St. Louis, and Luna's mother  Anana returned, only to leave again for Cincinnati, then later Detroit, where she died of heart failure. Sakari arrive in 2016, in hopes that the pair would produce cubs. So far, no cubs. 

Seneca Park Zoo

Anoki, daughter of the late Aurora and Yukon, was born in the Seneca Park Zoo, and now has returned there, living alone.

26 year old Anoki was born in Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester NY on November 20, 1996, the first of four cubs from Aurora and Yukon. Anoki has never had cubs. She lived for ten years in Rio Grand Zoo (now ABQ Biopark) in Albuquerque 1998-2008 with her mother's brothers, twins Kiska and Koluk.  From 2008 to 2018 she lived in Baltimore with Magnet until he died in 2015. When her mother Aurora, still in Rochester, died last year, Anoki moved back to Seneca Park Zoo so they would have a polar bear there. Her siblings are Haley of Memphis, and twins Lee, now in Columbus, and Anana now in North Carolina.

Anoki's mother Aurora was sister of Denali, who lives in Japan and has fathered many cubs there. 

North Carolina Zoo

Anana, daughter of Aurora and Yukon and twin sister of Lee, lives in the North Carolina Zoo with her new companion Payton, son of the late Arki and Aussie, and brother of Hudson and the late Marty.

23 year old Anana and her twin brother Lee were born November 27, 1999, in Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester NY to Aurora and Yukon.

Anana had spent most of her life alone in Lincoln Park Zoo, until she moved to Asheboro North Carolina to be with Nikita in 2014. Hopes were high that these bears would have cubs, but no results. Nikita has moved to Salt Lake City, and now Payton arrived in early 2021.

19 year old Payton was born in Brookfield Zoo November 8, 2003, the son of Aussie and Arki. When he was three years old, he and his companion Haley moved to the Memphis Zoo, until Payton moved to North Carolina two years ago. 

Payton in 2012 in the Memphis Zoo

The population seems to be stabilizing at 40, but the great concern is that most of the younger bears are part of the same family. We really need to change whatever federal laws are preventing the importing of zoo polar bears from Europe and Canada, or we will have no polar bears at all in our zoos in the next generation. 

Crystal's paw in September of 2022 in Toledo