DE
09.12.14

Polar bears birthday party at Hellabrunn Zoo: Nela and Nobby turn one!

On Tuesday, 9 December, Hellabrunn's two polar bear twins celebrated their first birthday: twelve months of exciting adventures, new experiences and challenges - this calls for a celebration!

Foto Credit Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michaela Rehle

Foto Credit Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michaela Rehle

Foto Credit Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michaela Rehle

Foto Credit Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michaela Rehle

Foto Credit Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michaela Rehle

A sweet, icy treat awaited the two birthday bears on the tundra landscape. To celebrate the occasion, Nela and Nobby received two special ice cakes. The birthday enrichment was prepared by freezing a container of water filled with strawberries, mangoes, apples and pineapple. The keeper then decorated each cake with an ice candle made of fruit juice and a flame made of cream. Placed next to the cakes were gifts. But what do the little twins find more interesting, cake or toys? Nela headed straight for the cream, while Nobby approached his ice cake somewhat hesitantly before pouncing on a rather unusual gift: a traffic cone! This really got the birthday party going. Nela and Nobby found a way to turn the cone on its nose, balance it with their paws, and then throw it into the water. The surprise gift was a big hit with the two bears.

"I’ve grown particularly fond of our energetic twins Nela and Nobby. The two are always fun to watch. In autumn, their favourite activities were chasing down fluttering leaves and wallowing in piles of them. Let's see what they do when it snows for the first time," says zoo director Rasem Baban. "Over the last month, Nela and Nobby have had daily contact with their father Yoghi, who they are able to sniff at the cuddling fence. We continue to monitor these meetings to decide whether we can reunite Giovanna and the twins with their father Yoghi."

The mayor and chairman of the zoo, Christine Strobl, also offered congratulations: "I still remember the amazing images from the maternity den, and how lovingly Giovanna took care of the tiny babies immediately after the birth. Nela and Nobby have now grown into sizeable bears and are already celebrating their first birthday with fruity ice cake and toy gifts. It is always a joy to watch the two."

The first year of Nela and Nobby's development has been ideal. Nobby, who likes to play with his food, is well nourished, but only weighs 80 kg. He is considerably smaller and lighter than his twin sister Nela who registers an additional ten kilograms on the scales. Like her father Yoghi, Nela is not a fussy eater and often eats more than necessary. The two little cubs especially enjoy meat and fish, but also like lettuce, melon and cooked soup with spices. In addition, they still get breast milk from mama Giovanna (8 years). To build up their fat reserves for the winter, the polar bears are currently feasting on double their summer ration every day. Papa Yoghi (15 years) now weighs about 500 kilograms and mama Giovanna around 370 kilos. The birthday cubs Nela and Nobby are of course nowhere near these sizes.

But back to the beginning: The adventure began with two spectacular births - both recorded live in high quality colour on a surveillance camera. On the morning of 9 December 2013, polar bear baby number 1 and number 2 arrived in the world an hour apart: healthy, naked, blind, deaf and no bigger than two guinea pigs. For the first months after the birth, the two remained with their mother Giovanna in the maternity den in Hellabrunn's Polar World. Under the watchful eye of their mother and her fat-rich milk, the two are developing quickly and has grown in size.

On March 19, the baby polar bears emerged from the maternity den for the first time. They were greeted by a beautiful spring day, which marked the 100th day in the life of the twin cubs. At the time, Nobby and Nela weighed six and seven kilos, respectively - big and strong enough to venture outside. Filled with curiosity and excitement, the two embarked on a tour of discovery, i.e. began climbing tree trunks, testing the water and sniffing the grass. Everything is new, everything is exciting.

The next big occasion for the two was the name giving ceremony where the cute cubs were presented to their godfathers who then gave them names. On April 7, wildlife polar bear photographer, Norbert Rosing, and Managing Director of Emilo Specialty Coffee, Emanuel Clemm, christened the twins with the names Nela and Nobby. Eight months later, on December 9, the two cubs are now celebrating their first birthday.

Visitors to Hellabrunn Zoo can see Nela and Nobby, together with mama Giovanna, every day from 9:00 am to 16.30 pm on the tundra landscape or on the rocks in the Polar World. Their father Yoghi lives in a separate enclosure.