Nora, a five-month-old polar bear cub at the Columbus Zoo, made her first live appearance before spectators on Friday, and the little cub’s playful enthusiasm did not disappoint. Video of the cub shows Nora frolicking in the water, playing with balls and floats.
As the polar bear cub checked out the scenery of her habitat, bystanders also became amused when Nora took interest in a traffic cone and momentarily ran around with it stuck on her head.
Though the Columbus Zoo had been documenting Nora’s growth and change from birth via social media, this was the first time that zoo visitors were able to see the polar bear cub in person. According to USA Today, visitors of the zoo were only able to watch Nora play for about an hour, but the cub did not disappoint. The Columbus Zoo noted on their Facebook page that zoo patrons could see Nora daily at 9:30 but the cub would only stay out for about an hour. Viewers will get more opportunities to delight in the antics of the polar bear as she grows, with the zoo wanting to limit how they carefully introduce the fifty-five pound cub to the world in an effort to support Nora’s health and well-being.
Nora the polar bear was born on November 6, 2015 at the Columbus Zoo’s Polar Front Region according to the zoo’s website dedicated to the cub. Weighing only a pound at birth, the cub has grown and thrived in the care of zookeepers. Nora’s first few months were documented in a viral video released by the zoo.
Zoo staff had hoped the cub’s mother would care for Nora but noted she began to leave the polar bear cub for extended periods of time and they became concerned. In order to protect the cub, the staff stepped in to provide round the clock care and the polar bear began to thrive.
The breeding and raising of polar bears in captivity has become a controversial topic in the animal world. While some analysts point to the decimation of the polar bear’s natural habitat and the disappearance of the arctic being a threat to all arctic species, there is also concern that by breeding bears in captivity, a lack of awareness is being raised in how the population of wild polar bears can be preserved.
According to an article by DW released this year on International Polar Bear Day, there are only approximately 25,000 polar bears left in the wild. While breeding in captivity can help stave off extinction of the polar bear, animal rights advocates argue that the animals suffer when they are not given the ability to roam, hunt, and swim as they would in a natural habitat.
While solving the plight of the polar bear may not be something that is achievable right this instant, there is no denying that watching Nora the polar bear cub frolic is both entertaining and enjoyable. Zoo experts contend that by allowing spectators a view of the beauty of polar bears and the cute factor of the cubs, humans may naturally develop empathy for the creatures and work to aid with the preservation of the polar bear species.
Though Nora will grow to be over five hundred and fifty pounds as an adult female polar bear, according to the Huffington Post, the public’s attachment to the cub will most likely carry over for the entirety of Nora’s adulthood making her a favorite to visit and observe.
[Nora the polar bear cub cover image via Columbus Zoo Official Facebook.]