The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is seeking suggestions from the public to name its new bundle of joy, a polar bear cub. Born on November 6, 2015, to mother Aurora and father Nanuq, the cub weighed one pound.
The zoo is holding a contest to let the public choose her new moniker, as reported by ABC7.
The cub was born with a twin, but the sibling could not survive despite Aurora’s efforts, an attentive mother to begin with. The survival rate for a polar bear cub during the first few week of life is merely 50 percent.
Around a week or so after the cubs were born, Aurora began taking breaks from caring for her cub. As time passed, the duration of the breaks extended throughout the day. This got the Zoo staff worried, who then removed the cub from the den and started hand-rearing her.
The cub became a social media sensation, with her videos being viewed millions of times on the zoo’s Facebook page. The birth sure was special to the zoo, as this cub is only one of the two surviving polar bears born in human care last year. Aurora and Nanuq were paired together on the recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.
Due to the habitat loss caused by climate change and the resulting melting of the polar ice caps, the polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species. Large-scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species. The 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears was signed in Oslo on November 15 of that year by Canada, Denmark (for Greenland), Norway, the U.S., and Russia. The current polar bear population of 20,000 to 25,000 could dwindle to less than 10,000 by 2050.
Tom Stalf, the President and CEO of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which is designated an Arctic Ambassador Center by Polar Bears International, said the following.
“Polar bears need our help. We are committed to doing everything we can at the zoo, as well as supporting conservation initiatives for wild populations, to ave these animals for generations to come. This rare birth is special not just for the Columbus Zoo community, but for people around the globe. We wanted to invite all of this cub’s fans to be a part of her identity.”
Zoo staff selected four names for the public to choose from: Desna, which means “boss;” Nora, from Nanuq and Aurora; Kaya, which means “little but wise;” and Sakari, which means “sweet.” The votes can be cast by choosing a name by clicking here. Voting is open until February 3, and her name will be announced on February 5.
The cub is now almost 3-months-old. She weighs in at 14 pounds and measures 20.5 inches from nose to tail, reported the Columbus Dispatch. The zoo says that she is a very strong willed and determined little lady. As her legs get stronger, she is getting ready to stand and walk on all fours. She is behind the scenes at the Animal Hospital and not available for viewing by the zoo guests yet. She receives around-the-clock care, and feeding every four hours, and is awake for most of the time during the day. She is a playful little bundle with the new enrichment items she receives each day.
She will probably ready for public viewing in the spring, but the zoo staff will take the decision based on the cues provided by her.
[Image via Columbus Zoo and Aquarium]