Kulu, the only American polar bear cub

Jun 22nd, 2020 | By | Category: Lead articles

22.6.2020 by Molly Merrow

It was Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A., November 28, when a little boy cub was born to Aurora in the Columbus Zoo. She is an experienced mother, having given birth to Nora in 2015, and then twins Nuniq and Neva in 2016. Kulu’s father is Lee, who had never fathered a cub before.

kulu climb

Papa Lee

lee toe up

Kulu’s name was chosen by fans voting for one of three names, and the winning name was announced on April 22, Earth Day. He had weighed about a pound at birth, but by April 22, he was up to 85 pounds.

He is the only polar bear cub in a zoo in the Western Hemisphere this season, so he’s really special. The Columbus Zoo is only two hours drive from my house, so as soon as I could, I went to visit.

aurora kulu

Due to the pandemic, the Columbus Zoo had closed down in mid-March. Kulu made his debut into the big yard with no fans to watch. The zoo finally opened up on June 12, with a limited number of guests and timed entries.

A week after the opening, on June 19, I was standing in front of the big grassy meadow where Kulu was playing with his mother.

kulu hump

Kuli and mom

Kulu mom back

Kulu is a really chunky little cub.already up to 180 pounds (82 kg) at age 6 1/2 months.

kulu sit

kulu yawn

He is a furry ball of energy, constantly playing with his many toys, sometimes on land, but usually in the water.

kulu jump

kulu close up

kulu close carton

kulu red carton

His mother is trying to teach him how to catch the live trout in the big diving pool. He jumps in and tries, but so far hasn’t caught any.

kulu dunk

During my visit, Aurora spent a lot of time sleeping on the center rock pillar (with one eye open) while Kulu ran about, playing independently.

kulu and mom

His favorite toy is a red plastic carton, just his size. He would stop every once in awhile to watch his mother, just to make sure she was still nearby.

kulu balance red box

kulu announce red box

kulu bit carton

kulu bite carton

kulu red box
kulu red boxes

At snack time, the keepers threw some romaine lettuce into the pool, one of Aurora’s favorites, just like her Grandma Arki. Kulu had to sample some too and he liked it.

Aurora and Kulu have the big yard on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Her twin sister Anana and Kulu’s father Lee have the big yard on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. There is a big open yard with a pool in the non-viewable area for the alternate bear group.

kulu eyes

Kulu probably takes after his grandfather Marty, who is a really big bear. He also is a single cub, and doesn’t have to share his mother’s milk with a sibling, so he will just keep growing, and before long, will be bigger than his mom.

kulu bite hand




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  1. Kulu ist ein hübsches Kind.
    Schöne Fotos ! 🙂

  2. Dear Molly and Mervi
    Kulu is growing fast in a wonderful Zoo with an experienced mother.
    Thank you for sharing your visit with us. It is now so vital for people like me who still cannot travel to a Zoo,that reports like this online.

  3. Dear Molly,

    What a wonderful report you made of Kulu and her mother – and even papa Lee presents himself!

    Kulu is, of course, a most adorable polar bear boy and Aurora is an experienced mother who knows how to raise her precious baby.

    I love all the photos but maybe the close-up by the glass is my favourite. What a cute face!

    Thank you so much for presenting the little American charmeur to the readers of this magazine!

    Hugs from Mervi

  4. Dem Kurzgruß oben kann ich mich getrost vollinhaltlich anschließen! 😉

    – – –

    Dear MOLLY MERROW – Thank you very much for your beautiful photos of this handsome polar bear cub KULU in the Western Hemispere (site of OHIO within the U.S.A.: https://tinyurl.com/SiteOfOHIOwithinUSA) and your informative text.

    I am sorry I didn’t know who ‘KULU’ is, when I discovered his name first in MERVI’s “Midsummer Fantasy” (see ‘Recent Articles’ in ‘KWM’). . . . . You may be proud I immediately mentioned him there because I loved spontaneously his sweet little polar bear head among the swans n the water (and in MERVI’s collage) so much!

    Please don’t be disappointed should I ask again “Who is KULU” some time from now. You know my memory capacities weakens more and more and I am not able to keep in mind all the lovely polar bears we got to know in the course of the time since 2007!

    Wishing you lots of fun again in the Columbus Zoo in Ohio and in any other of your US-zoos or even other zoos worldwide (as you are obviously a busy zoo-travelling-lady 🙂 . . . May free travelling be possible again one day!

  5. Dear Mervi and dear Molly!
    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful impressions of Kulu and his parents!
    Kulu is a very charming young male and seems to enjoy his young life to the fullest.
    I loved to see him play with his favourite toys and looking so self-confident on some photos.

    Aurora is not only an experienced mother but also a beauty and his father Lee is a strong and goodlooking guy so cute little Kulu has the best preconditions to become a big, handsome and gorgeous male too.

    Hugs
    Anke

  6. Dear Molly and Mervi, thank you for sharing this report and pics. And WAW!!! it is fur sure that Kulu is already a little big giant. Never seen pics of such a young cub like him before. And it is so charming to see that just like all young creatures, he is enjoying the “simple” toys: a red plastic box (and meanwhile making sure that mommy is still close around). And she like all mothers can have a nap with one eye open.

  7. Dear Molly Merrow and Mervi.

    Thanks for the report and the adorable pictures.

    I had the luck two days ago (without camera) to see the two cubs in Copenhagen Zoo. They are growing fast.

    Nightgreetings from Copenhagen
    Inge aus Cph

  8. Ihr Lieben, dass ist ja wirklich ganz ein suesses Baerchen! Danke fuers Zeigen.

    Alles Liebe, Erika

  9. Liebe Molly und liebe Mervi,
    ein ganz hübscher Eisbärjunge und ich hoffe wir werden von ihm und seiner Mama mehr sehen!
    Vielen Dan für die schönen Bilder und liebe Grüße
    Moni K

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