Birthday Party for polar bear twins Nela and Nobby

On 9 December, the polar bear cubs Nela and Nobby will turn two years old. Hellabrunn Zoo will host a small party for the twins with gifts and well-wishers, including Mayor Christine Strobl. The zoo cordially invites all visitors to join the party.

Copyright: Hellabrunn Zoo / Marc Müller (June 2015)

Copyright: Hellabrunn Zoo / Marc Müller (February 2014)

Copyright: Hellabrunn Zoo / Marc Müller (March 2014)

Copyright: Hellabrunn Zoo / Michaela Rehle (09.12.2014)

The celebration begins at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, 9 December 2015 with the presentation of gifts to the birthday kids in a unique way: even though Nela and Nobby are only two years old, well-wishers will only be able to congratulate the twins from a distance or through a glass wall for obvious safety reasons. For those who are not familiar with the twins, Nela and Nobby are polar bears and thus members of the largest living land carnivore. The birthday twins will receive a special treat for their sweet tooth, as well as “toys” to ensure they enjoy a special day in Hellabrunn's Polar World.

Polar bear lovers living in or visiting Munich are cordially invited to attend the birthday celebration. The party kicks off at midday on Wednesday in the zoo. Hellabrunn Zoo warmly welcomes all to celebrate this special occasion with the twins.

The birthday party is also a farewell party. "Early next year Nela and Nobby will move to other European zoos - Nela will live in a female group in the newly opened Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands and Nobby in an all-male group in Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster in England," says zoo director Rasem Baban. "The two zoos have been selected through the European Endangered Species Programme. Nela and Nobby will receive the best care in their respective same-sex groups in the coming years." At Emmen Zoo, Nela will move into a completely newly built polar bear enclosure with 4,700 m2 of space, where she will be joined by two young playmates of her age. At Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Nobby will join three other male polar bear juveniles to form a bachelor group and will live in a new enclosure measuring approximately 10,000 m2.

This coming of age process whereby polar bears leave their mother at the age of about two years to set up their own home range also takes place in the wild. The sub-adults will become mature enough to mate at around the age of four, upon which they will start their own family. For Nela and Nobby, this means that over the next few years they will learn to live with polar bears of the same age so that when they reach sexual maturity they will be able to find a partner in another zoo and care for their offspring.

About Hellabrunn Zoo’s polar bears:
The polar bear twins Nela and Nobby were born on 9 December 2013. Hellabrunn Zoo achieved a worldwide first by recording the first colour video footage of the early development of polar bear cubs in the first few months with the mother in a birthing den - in a zoo or on the ice. This achievement is of great scientific importance.

Mama bear Giovanna was born on 28 November 2006 in Fasano, Italy. She came to Hellabrunn in January 2008. During renovation work on the Polar World, Giovanna and Yoghi (born on 29.11.1999 in Pistoia, Italy) spent 2009 and 2010 in Berlin. There, Giovanna became Knut's 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.

The father of the polar bear twins, 16-year-old Yoghi, presents a threat to his cubs as he may see his own offspring as potential prey. Nela and Nobby have therefore always lived separately from their father.