Polar Bear Cub in Germany Takes First Steps Outside

By Zack Stieber

An 18-week-old polar bear cub left the birthing box at Gelsenkirchen’s zoological garden for the first time with his mother on Friday.

The cub was born on Dec. 4, 2017, and now weighs about 20 kilograms (44 pounds). Lara, a 13-year-old polar bear, gave birth to the cub, reported Stuttgarter.

Lara also gave birth to two other cubs, but both of them died within two days of the birth.

Gelsenkirchen Mayor Frank Baranowski unveiled the name of the little polar bear as the baby took its first steps.

“The baby should become a trademark of the zoo,” Baranowski told the crowd of about 100 people, reported FM 1.

for almost two weeks the five proposed names were discussed: Nanook, Mathilda, Lenja, Lore, and Baerbel.

Most people who voted online chose Nanook while the animal keepers also chose that name.

“The polar bear cub is called Nanook and enjoys his first outing,” the zoo said on Facebook.

Nanook comes from the Inuit language and means polar bear.

According to Polar Bear Habitat, in Inuit mythology, Nanook, or Nanuk, was the master of the bears.

“Inuit hunters worshiped the great bear, believing that he decided which hunters deserved success. Legend says that if a dead polar bear was treated properly by the hunter, it would share the news with other bears, and they would be willing to be killed by him. All of the meat―save for the liver―was to be eaten, the skin used for clothing (one bear can make three pairs of trousers and a pair of mukluks),” the blog stated.

“Hunters were meant to pay respect to bear’s soul by hanging the skin in a special place in his house for several days, and the spirit was offered tokens—if it was male, it was offered weapons and hunting tools, and if it was female, needle cases and skin scrapers,” it continued.

The baby polar bear wandered around its enclosure, probing the boundaries and splashing in the water source inside.

The baby’s mother eventually helped the cub out of the water.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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