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How well do you know Berlin?


Berlin eats about 10.5 pounds of fish (herring, capelin and trout) and 2 pounds of polar bear chow daily (can include dog food). She also gets lard. She receives other food like fruits and vegetables as treats and rewards in her training. Berlin’s diet, like other female polar bears, fluctuates seasonally. She also takes medicine for arthritis. http://KCTV.images.worldnow.com/images/1875872_G.jpg
Polar bears can live into their mid-30s in zoos. The oldest polar bear in a U.S. zoo now is 35 years old. http://KCTV.images.worldnow.com/images/1875873_G.jpg
The pool in the exhibit is kept at 65 degrees year round. Berlin’s dens or bedrooms are also kept at the same temperature. This helps keep her cool. Plants on the green roof provide insulation for the building and help the environment by increasing oxygen output.http://KCTV.images.worldnow.com/images/1875874_G.jpg
No, the glass around the exhibit is 2 ½ inches thick and the walls are 17 feet high. Berlin cannot break the glass nor climb out of the exhibit. She did escape her previous home in Duluth, MN. She floated away when flash floods swamped her zoo in 2012. She was captured but needed a new home. http://KCTV.images.worldnow.com/images/1875875_G.jpg
What you are seeing is an awesome Arctic adventure area, which is nearly 10,000 square feet and customized for polar bear living. It includes a 140,000-gallon pool and a 105-ton sand box complete with grassy and diving areas.http://KCTV.images.worldnow.com/images/1875876_G.jpg
While Berlin’s former mate in Kansas City, Nikita, preferred to sleep outside at night in the sandy pit, Berlin likes to sleep indoors in her stall. She has access to straw. In addition, zookeepers have fashioned her a bed of sorts made out of fire hoses. She seems to like its softness. http://KCTV.images.worldnow.com/images/1875877_G.jpg

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About Berlin

Berlin is a mixture of strong willed and sweet. Since 2012, Berlin has lived at the Kansas City Zoo, which is the fourth zoo that she’s called home.

Berlin and her twin cub, Yukon, were born Dec. 11, 1989, at the Cincinnati Zoo. Berlin was born shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is how she got her name. Through her mother, she is descended from the Omaha zoo’s famous polar bears, Olga and Olaf. Through her father, she descends from a famous pair of Canadian bears.

Berlin was barely a year old when she was shipped to the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, MN. The zoo opened a new polar bear exhibit in 1990 and for $25,000 purchased Berlin and a male bear, Bubba, who was the same age.

The hope was the two bears would eventually breed, but it wasn’t a love connection. Bubba was the more dominant and was an active swimmer.

At least twice, Berlin was found at the bottom of the moat surrounding the bears' exhibit in Duluth. The theory is that Bubba shoved her out of the exhibit while he was in the water, and that may explain her reluctance to spend considerable time in the water. Bubba died in 2007 and Berlin blossomed.

She is a water ballerina who has a dainty stroke and makes few waves as she floats along. She likes to make bubbles with her head just below the surface. Her swimming abilities saved her life the night of June 20, 2012, when a flash flood inundated the Duluth zoo.

Water rose up 14 feet and Berlin was able to swim out of her exhibit. She was dangerously close to the rushing floodwaters of a nearby creek when a zoo employee was successfully able to tranquilize her.

She was immediately shipped south to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, where her uncles, Buzz and Neil, lived. That winter, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the zoos involved made the decision to send Berlin to the Kansas City Zoo where Nikita, the zoo’s rock star animal, needed a sidekick. Even though Berlin had been on birth control at one time, the hope was Nikita and Berlin would mate and have cubs. The two met in February 2012, but their relationship was rocky at times. She quickly let him know there was a new sheriff in town by the name of Berlin. During breeding season, they would get affectionate with each other and mated that initial year and again in 2013 and 2014. While Nikita wanted to play with Berlin, she preferred to keep her distance from him during the rest of the year.

The two bears did not mate in 2015, and the decision was made that Berlin was now too old to have cubs. Nikita was sent to the North Carolina Zoo on Jan. 6, 2016, leaving Berlin behind and alone. Nikita’s replacement mate, Anana, is one of Yukon’s daughters, which makes her Berlin’s niece. Yukon with his mate had three girls and one boy, but none have ever had any cubs. Anana has only been with her twin, Lee, so the hope is she will have cubs from Nikita.

Just like after Bubba’s death, Berlin seemed more confident and relaxed after Nikita left.

Berlin spent three hours swimming and exploring the exhibit the day that Nikita left. She is a spunky polar bear queen who is her own boss with a definite stubborn streak. She is also a sweetheart of a bear who loves her keepers and is quite curious.

“She can be extremely stubborn,” a Duluth zoo director said. “She reminded me a little bit of a cat or tiger. If she didn’t want to do something, she didn’t do it.”

Female polar bears in captivity can leave to their mid-30s so the zoo plans to have Berlin for some time.

Her weight fluctuates seasonally from about 500 pounds to 700 pounds. She is in good health, but does take medicine for arthritis. Berlin has toys and enrichment items to play with including barrels.

Having spent so much of her life near the Canadian border, Berlin knows snow and loves it. When it snows in Kansas City, she rolls around in it like a puppy. You can watch Berlin 24/7 on KCTV5’s polar bear cam.

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