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Love at first sight - is that a bear kiss?

By The Siberian Times reporter
06 March 2013

This is the moment of the happy meeting between two young polar bears in a Siberian zoo.

The first steps - Lomonosov and Kolymana polar bears get to know each other. Picture: 'Orto Doidu' zoo 

Kolymana, the female cub, made the first move to leave her cage. Then male Lomonosov came out, and they approached each other. 

Soon they were sniffing each other and playing together in the snow in sub-zero temperatures, just the way polar bears like it.

Previously they had only seen each from a distance through the bars of their respective cages. 

The meeting at Yakut Zoo 'Orto-Doidu' is with the full intention that the polar bears should produce cubs.

Kolymana is not at all used to company while, until his move at the age of 13 months from Leningrad Zoo in St Petersburg in December, lived with his mother Uslada. Locals say Kolymana is used to making her own entertainment, playing with toys and digging dens.

She was found in April 2012 by a patrol team from the Ministry of Nature Protection of Yakutia and the WWF noticed her trail, and a few kilometres further on found found lonely little cub.

They searched for the cub's mother but could not find her. Her fate is unknown. 

So they took her to save the cub from starvation and gave her home at 12 year old Orto-Doido, the national zoo of the Republic of Sakha, also called Yakutia, in eastern Siberia, some 50km from capital Yakutsk on the bank of the Lena River.

She turned out to be four months old and she was named Kolymana, after the river of the same name. 

Lomonsov, on the other hand, comes from a famous dynasty of polar bears and has relatives in zoos around the world. His birth was a big event in St Petersburg, after the mating of mother Uslada with Menshikov. A competition was held among visitors to the zoo to name the cub. 

Lomonosov polar bear

Lomonsov's birth was a big event in St Petersburg, after the mating of mother Uslada with Menshikov; a competition was held among visitors to the zoo to name the cub. Picture: 'Orto Doidu' zoo

He was given the name Lomonosov in honour of the great Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov. His birth came in the month that Russia marked the 300th anniversary of the the scientist's birth.

Lomonosov was the 15th cub of these parents and Leningrad Zoo - which boasts a polar bear as its emblem - has been the leader in breeding the creatures since the 1930s, but does not have space for such a large family.

'Our polar bear cubs now live in various locations - Moscow, Novosibirsk, Tallinn, the Czech city of Brno, Australia, China, Japan and Korea', said Svetlana Shelgunova, head of the wild mammals department at the Leningrad Zoo, explaining Lomonosov's far-flung family.

When the bear left for Yakutsk, she stressed: 'The bear is being sent there on a temporary basis for reproduction. 

'If the couple get along well together, Lomonosov will most probably stay there. But he still belongs to the Leningrad Zoo'.

Well, all the signs are that they do like each other and that Lomonosov may not want to leave again, thank you! 

Comments (1)

In our zoo, the bears like to play with basketballs.
Mara Mai, USA
01/10/2013 20:39
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