The public has spoken! Following a worldwide online poll, the three-month-old Polar Bear cub born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium finally has a name…Nora!
The name was one of four options the Zoo put to a public vote between January 19 and February 3.
The name ‘Nora’, a combination of the cub’s parents’ names, Nanuq and Aurora, garnered the most votes followed by: ‘Kaya’, meaning “little but wise”; ‘Sakari’, meaning “sweet”; and ‘Desna’, meaning “boss”. The Columbus Zoo’s animal care staff had selected the four names, and participants were able to cast their vote online once every 24 hours.
The cub has gathered a strong following on the Columbus Zoo’s social media pages, where fans have been able to watch videos of her growth. Voting participants spanned the globe, with 115 countries represented in the voting. The top five participating countries were the United States, France, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom for a grand total of 88,061 votes.
“We are thrilled and inspired that so many people around the world helped name this young Polar Bear,” said Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. “We hope that those who have been watching Nora grow will continue to do so throughout her life, and remember that we all have a role to play in protecting wild Polar Bears for generations to come.”
Nora was born on November 6 in the Polar Frontier region at the Columbus Zoo. Animal care team members had hoped that Aurora would be able to take care of the cub herself, but she eventually began leaving the fragile newborn alone for prolonged periods of time. Under the guidance of the Species Survival Plan, a program created by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Columbus Zoo decided to intervene and raise the cub by hand.
She has been growing up fast ever since. The cub, who weighed about one pound at birth, now weighs 18 pounds, and has recently been growing up to an inch a week. She has quickly gone from learning how to walk, to running and galloping. Staff members have started to introduce her to water via a small tub, where she has been enjoying splashing around.
“While she does possess some of her infant qualities, she is starting to become independent and play with her new, big bear enrichment items,” said Shannon Morarity, assistant curator at the Columbus Zoo.
Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar Bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by the year 2050.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is dedicated to conserving Polar Bear populations in the wild, and is recognized as an Arctic Ambassador by Polar Bears International.
For the latest news about Nora, follow the Columbus Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, please visit ColumbusZoo.org.