Berlin on her rock in Minnesota before she moved to Kansas City
The doors opened Thursday morning for Berlin to sniff out her new home at the Kansas City Zoo's Polar Bear Passage. (Chris Oberholtz/KCTV5)
Nikita enjoys the sun and his toys the day before he begins to share his exhibit
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
The doors opened Thursday morning for Berlin to sniff out her new home at the Kansas City Zoo's Polar Bear Passage.
And she is exploring away.
Berlin has cleared quarantine and that means she can go on public display.
The door to Polar Bear Passage opened at 9:30 a.m. for Berlin to begin exploring, swimming and whatever else she wants to do. If you aren't at the zoo, you can watch live on the Sonic Nikita Cam on KCTV5's website at www.kctv5.com/nikita.
KCTV5 has crews at the scene. Check back later for videos and photos.
To help Berlin explore, zookeepers put out special toys out just for her. One is a barrel with her name in bright letters on it.
"Our hope is that Berlin will poke her nose out the door and start her discovery," the zoo said in a news release. "But she is an animal, and all animals can be unpredictable and cautious when stepping into a new environment. On Thursday, we will wait as long as needed to view her on the next part of her journey at the Kansas City Zoo."
They didn't have to wait long. Within minutes, she was out checking out her new home. She played with toys, ate food and took several frosty swims.
"She is a cautious explorer and has smelled every corner of her new environment," the zoo said Thursday afternoon on its homepage. "As a swimmer, she is just as charming as Nikita, but moves more slowly. Berlin got close to all the smiling faces that are watching her"
She also doesn't create the big splashes that Nikita does while swimming, as she moves more gracefully through the water.
The 23-year-old Berlin traveled from her home in Minnesota to Kansas City late last year. She and the zoo's star attraction, 6-year-old Nikita, are aware of each other's presence but haven't met officially. Nikita noticeably became more excited and changed some of his daily mannerisms after Berlin arrived.
Nikita is at times protective of his toys after zookeepers have moved him so he may not be thrilled to share them with Berlin.
The two bears have yet to officially come "nose to nose," and that won't occur Thursday because the two bears are still in the "howdy" phase of their relationship.
"Berlin will alternate on exhibit with Nikita," the zoo said.
The schedule of the dates and times when Berlin will be on exhibit will be posted on the zoo's website and Facebook page as well as KCTV5's polar bear page.
"Nikita and Berlin will be on exhibit separately but both could be off exhibit at certain times of the day," the zoo said.
When not out and about in their public exhibit, the bears will be getting to know each other better.
"These "HOWDY' sessions begin with plenty of secure space between Nikita and Berlin so they can see and smell each other," the zoo said. "Zoo keepers will monitor and record their behaviors consulting with the zoo's animal curators, veterinarians and other polar bear experts. This collaboration will help determine when to bring the bears closer and yet still protected from direct contact, and then eventually get them nose to nose."
This meticulous process is dictated entirely by 1,500 pounds "of big, white, strong, independent and beautiful bears," and patience is required.
"Careful observation and precautions will be taken during each step of this introduction process," the zoo said. "The process could take days or weeks or maybe even months. While we hope for a quick success, it will not be rushed."
The hope is the two bears will mate and create a baby polar bear.
"In the world of animals, as well as humans, we know love is not guaranteed. All connections take dedication," the zoo said.
Read more about Nikita and Berlin and see slideshows on KCTV5's polar bear page. Click here.
Copyright2013 KCTV (MeredithCorp.) All rights reserved.
Berlin has cleared quarantine and is now enjoying her time at the Kansas City Zoo's Polar Bear Passage. She will alternate on exhibit with Nikita until the "howdy" phase of their relationship is complete.More >>
Berlin has cleared quarantine and is now enjoying her time at the Kansas City Zoo's Polar Bear Passage. She and the zoo's star attraction, 6-year-old Nikita, will alternate on exhibit until the "howdy" phase of their relationship is complete.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 11:31 PM EDT2013-05-20 03:31:42 GMT
Relatives and dozens of Beech Island community members gathered today in front of Island Cuts Barbershop to remember Zann Worrell. "I was totally surprised and very happy that everybody came out becauseMore >>
Dozens of Beech Island residents gathered tonight to remember Zann Worrell, who was fatally shot in his barbershop on Saturday afternoon.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 6:18 PM EDT2013-05-19 22:18:38 GMT
Aiken County deputies say they searched with New Ellenton police officers for two armed men who shot dogs on Sizemore Avenue on Saturday night. Aiken County deputies say they started searching for the suspectsMore >>
UPDATE: Neighbors are shocked after two suspects shot three dogs in a New Ellenton neighborhood Saturday night. More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 4:20 PM EDT2013-05-19 20:20:12 GMT
One person has been transported to the hospital after being shot at Axis Barbershop in Beech Island. Aiken County dispatch said it happened around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There are at least two suspects,More >>
Aiken County Coroner's office has confirmed that 32 year old Zann Worrell Jr. of North Augusta died at GRU Medical Center on May 18, 2013 at 3:37 p.mMore >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 3:11 PM EDT2013-05-19 19:11:10 GMT
Richmond County Dispatch confirms there has been a stabbing at a Family Dollar. Deputies say it happened on the 2900 block of Dean's Bridge Road around 7:18 tonight. Information is limited at this tiMore >>
UPDATE: Richmond County investigators said Tonya S. Terry was stabbed several times in the chest area inside the Family Dollar on Dean's Bridge Road Saturday evening.More >>
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:04 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:04:50 GMT
Richmond County dispatch received a call around 7:20 a.m. that the Millbrook Apartment building was on fire located off of Skinner Mill Road. Firefighters were on the scene until around 8:30 a.m. No injuriesMore >>
Richmond County dispatch received a call around 7:20 a.m. that the Millbrook Apartment building was on fire located off of Skinner Mill Road.
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:23 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:23:19 GMT
A fundraiser was held Saturday in honor of Wesley Spires. Local firefighters held a boot drive to honor their fellow volunteer firefighter who remains in critical condition after he was beaten by whatMore >>
A fundraiser was held Saturday in honor of Wesley Spires. Local firefighters held a boot drive to honor their fellow volunteer firefighter who remains in critical condition after he was beaten by what investigators said was a bat along the Augusta Riverwalk on May 3rd.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:05:19 GMT
Instead of spending the day at the computer, some Augustans spent their day learning about it. People gathered at the Imperial Theater for Web Afternoon. Mayor Deke Copenhaver gave remarks about Augusta'sMore >>
People gathered at the Imperial Theater for Web Afternoon. Mayor Deke Copenhaver gave remarks about Augusta's growth in the technology sector.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 5:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 21:55:44 GMT
Michael Robert Bradford, an employee of DynCorp International, has been killed in Afghanistan.Bradford was a Grovetown resident, according to information from a DynCorp spokesperson.The spokesperson toldMore >>
Michael Robert Bradford, an employee of DynCorp International, has been killed in Afghanistan.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:47 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:47:31 GMT
Georgia Power crews are working to fix power lines at William Few Parkway and Knob Hill that were struck from a car crash around 9 a.m. Saturday. Columbia County dispatch said two cars were involved withMore >>
Georgia Power crews are working to fix power lines at William Few Parkway and Knob Hill that were struck from a car crash around 9 a.m. Saturday.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 2:40 PM EDT2013-05-18 18:40:22 GMT
Richmond County Sheriff's Office released the following information in regards to Deputy Creech: Sheriff Roundtree and the family of Deputy Alton Daniel Creech would like to thank everyone within our community forMore >>
Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way Extension, Augusta, Georgia on Tuesday morning, May 21, 2013 at 11am. Deputy Creech will lie in state for one hour prior to the service.More >>