Cubs´ twin christening

For the past two weeks, the adorable little cubs have been romping around the tundra landscape at Hellabrunn Zoo. The four-month-old polar bears have now finally been given names. They are called Nela and Nobby.

The anticipation in Munich had been building for weeks. The naming of the twin polar bear cubs was fast approaching. However, in order for the christening to take place, godparents were required. More than 20 applications were received from private individuals, businesses, charities and media organisations for the role of godparent-sponsor of the cubs. The selection was ultimately made in favour of wildlife photographer Norbert Rosing and a young start-up company based in Munich, emilo SPECIALITY COFFEE. They "christened" the polar bears with the names Nobby and Nela.


"It was not an easy decision for us. We not only had to ensure the financial package was right, it was also important that the sponsor fits well with our polar bears and the image of Hellabrunn Zoo. And we have achieved both," says the interim zoo director and curator Beatrix Köhler.


Norbert Rosing, who adopted Nobby, has developed a very close bond with polar bears through his years of work as a wildlife photographer. His work with polar bears has been featured on several covers of National Geographic. Nela's godmother is a young, Munich-based company specialising in roasted coffee, emilo SPECIALITY COFFEE. The company's motive for becoming a godmother is described by Emanuel Clemm (owner of emilo) as follows: "Like the cubs, I was born in Munich. I love the zoo and thought this was a great opportunity to show my appreciation for the countless beautiful hours I have spent at Hellabrunn with my family."


As with all animals born at Hellabrunn Zoo in 2013, the names must begin with an "N". "When I heard that the only requirement was that the name must begin with an N, I was very excited - after all, the name giving was fast approaching. My first name finally starts with N! Besides, how often do you get an opportunity to name a polar bear?" says a delighted Norbert Rosing. "As soon as Nobby becomes fully grown bear, we will call him Norbert."


Emanuel Clemm, owner of the small Munich roasted coffee company emilo SPECIALITY COFFEE relates his own personal story; his adopted polar bear cub Nela is named after his aunt Cornelia: "My brother and I have always called our aunt Nela. We have spent a lot of our childhood with her. I still like to think of those times and how wonderful it was with her. I have therefore chosen this name as a gesture of appreciation."



Both godparents have their cubs, which other visitors will be able to meet through the glass. The zoo decided not to attempt a traditional christening as the cubs are already developing their predator instincts. Now weighing ten kilos, the cubs no longer wish to be held on the arm and know how to defend themselves - in any event, Mama bear Giovanna (7) would no longer welcome this. As a christening gift, the godparents brought the cub's favourite food: honeydew melon. The delicious melon was placed directly on the plaque, on which the names of the twins can be read.


About Hellabrunn Zoo's polar bears: The polar bear cubs were born on 9 December 2013. Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo has achieved a worldwide first by recording colour video footage of the early development of polar bears in the first few months with the mother in a litter den (or ice cave in nature). This achievement is of great scientific importance. Mama bear Giovanna was born on 28 November 2006 born in Fasano, Italy. She came to Hellabrunn in January 2008. During renovation work at the Hellabrunn Polar World, Giovanna and Yoghi (born on 29.11.1999 in Pistoia, Italy) spent 2009 and 2010 in Berlin. There, Giovanna became Knuts' first playmate. Since 2010, Yoghi and Giovanna have been living together as a harmonious couple at Hellabrunn. Yoghi mated with Giovanna in Easter 2013. By the end of the summer, after a period of dormancy of the fertilised egg, the embryo began to grow. After this, the gestation period only lasted another eight weeks. Hellabrunn Zoo has never had polar bear twins. The previous birth of a cub at the zoo was 20 ago: in 1993, the polar bear Lars was born at the Munich zoo. Lars is the father of the world famous polar bear Knut. In 1995, Lars moved to Neumünster. He has since become a father to the female bear Anori, who was born in Wuppertal in 2012. Two other cubs were born at Hellabrunn at the end of the 1980s. The twins' father, 14-year-old Yoghi, is currently living at Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart (probably until autumn 2014), where he keeps female bear Corinna company. A father bear presents a threat to his cubs, as he may see his own offspring as potential prey and could even eat them.