A new gal is nearby and Nikita can definitely smell the change in the air.
Berlin, the Kansas City Zoo's new polar bear, arrived safe and sound Tuesday night.
"Berlin is eating and responding to zookeepers very well," zoo spokeswoman Julie Neemeyer said. "She has her own pool and outdoor area where she is completely enjoying the KC snow!"
Zookeepers are slowly introducing her to the zoo's star, 6-year-old Nikita. The two have yet to meet face to face but they are aware of each other in separate stalls in the holding area behind the polar bear exhibit.
"Nikita knows something is going on," Neemeyer said. "There is activity and it hasn't been all about him."
Berlin is 23 years old. The hope is she and Nikita will bond enough to produce a cub.
You can watch Nikita on KCTV5's Sonic polar bear cam at www.kctv5.com/nikita.
Nikita has spent much of Friday afternoon pacing back and forth between that back area and a rock overlooking his pool. He's not ventured into some of his more favored parts of his exhibit. Instead, he has actually stood on the rock and let loose a roar or two.
"Nikita was very excited and obviously very interested," Sean Putney, a zoo official, told the Kansas City Star, KCTV5's reporting partner. "You can hear him smelling through the doorway. He doesn't really vocalize that much, but for the last couple of days he has been. He knows there's a female in there."
Berlin will likely make her debut on the polar bear cam in late January or early February. In the meantime, she has her own behind-the-scenes outdoor area with a pool.
Kansas City this week joins just one of another dozen or so zoos with a possible breeding pair of polar bears, which are considered a threatened species.
Nikita came to Kansas City in 2010.
The zoo in Minnesota sent Berlin with her favorite toys. But Mother Nature brought her something special on Thursday to welcome her to Kansas City.
"She was out playing in the snow," Putney said.
To read more about Berlin, click here.
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