The Polar Bear Cub At The Zoo Needs A Name, And You Can Help Choose It

Back on Thanksgiving Day, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed a fluffy bundle of joy.

The spunk polar bear cub was born to mom Aurora and dad Lee, and now that he’s grown into a 60-pound ball of energy, it’s time to give him a name. Thankfully, the zoo wants to let us all in on the fun. Wildlife fans have the chance to vote for their favorite name for the little guy, and the options are pretty sweet.

But before we get too into the choices, let’s take a second to get to know this rambunctious fella a little bit better.

The cub is incredibly cute and not easily fazed.

All photos by Grahm S. Jones

He’s super adventurous and loves to swim.

He enjoys playing with enrichment items, but he can make fun wherever he goes, even if it’s just a dirt pile.

He enjoys cuddles with his mom Aurora.

And he’s always ready to brighten anyone’s gloomy, Ohio day.

So which names are on the table? Let’s see how they stack up.

Corky (KORE-kee) – Armstrong World Industries, whose support and generosity has been appreciated by the Columbus Zoo for several years, chose the name Corky as a nod to the company’s 160-year history. Armstrong began as a cork manufacturer, transforming through the years to its current ceiling, wall, and grid system manufacturing company. As members of both the U.S. Green Building Council and Canada Green Building Council, Armstrong World Industries is committed to operating their facilities and designing and manufacturing products in ways that reduce their environmental and social impacts to help create a more sustainable future for wildlife, people and our planet.

Minik (MIN-yik) – Inuit for “Splash.” This cub loves the water and has made a giant splash in all of our lives! Like all polar bear cubs, he is incredibly playful and loves swimming and jumping in the water; however, this guy really does take it to the next level. While the polar bear cubs in the past have typically needed mom’s help and encouragement while learning to swim, he figured it out all by himself the very first day he was introduced to the pool and has loved it ever since. We can’t wait for you to experience with us one of our favorite polar bear cub milestones at the Columbus Zoo–his very first jump off of what we affectionately call “Pride Rock” in the Polar Frontier habitat. We are sure he will make a giant splash into your hearts like he has ours!

Kulu (KOO-loo) – An Inuit term of endearment. Leading up to the birth of cub, as well as for weeks after he was born, the Columbus Zoo’s dedicated polar bear care team monitored mom, Aurora, and her little one around the clock via mounted cameras, documenting—and sharing in–every moment. Aurora has been an excellent mother, and keepers have watched Aurora and her little one develop a close bond. Keepers have also been able to expand on their own trusting relationship with Aurora to develop one with her cub now that the bears have ventured out of the birthing den into other behind-the-scenes areas. Not only has he endeared himself to his loving mother and devoted keepers, but this cub is precious to his threatened species, offering hope for the future of polar bears.

This little cub was the only polar bear cub to be born in a North American zoological facility in all of 2019. Polar bears are facing declining populations due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that there are only 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears left in their native range. If the warming trend continues, two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by 2050.

“Polar bears continue to face many threats to their survival, and they need our help,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Stalf. “We’re not only helping to contribute to their future with the birth of this polar bear cub, but we also remain committed to sharing the knowledge we gain through these experiences with our conservation partners and others working to help save this important species.”

The cub is as important as he is adorable, and we couldn’t be more excited that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is committed conservation of not only polar bears but countless other endangered and threatened species.

Voting for the naming ceremony ends on April 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. On April 22, aka the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the cub’s name will be announced. You can place your votes here.

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