Assiniboine Park Zoo unveiled two polar bear cubs Friday afternoon.
The cubs, Aurora and Kaska, are both one year old and have been living at the zoo for about a month.
Aurora was found orphaned in Churchill and had little chance of survival on her own. Kaska came from the Kaskatamagan Wildlife Management Area, part of Shamattawa First Nation's traditional territory.
Aurora has already undergone dental surgery at the zoo, and now, the pair are ready for public viewing.
Brian Joseph, the zoo’s director, said the pair have been doing well at the facility.
“They’re the same size exactly, even though they’re from different mothers. They’re just round fuzzy bears – very inquisitive, very self-confident, and they love to play,” said Joseph.
The pair will join a quickly growing group of polar bears at Assiniboine Park Zoo, all of which will take up permanent residence in the new Journey to Churchill exhibit.
Zoo to open skating pond
Assiniboine Park Zoo announced it will open its pond to ice skaters on Saturday at noon. Skating is free.
The cubs, who will likely live together for many years, only met each other on Thursday.
“They’re great. They’re pretty happy to be out, and they’re pretty happy to be together,” said Joseph. “They’re not at all disturbed by the presence of another bear. They’re sliding around in the snow and having a great time.”
The bears’ exhibit, a $200 million project that includes a 10-acre enclosure, will fully open in 2014.
Until then, the bears will be on display along with slightly older bears Storm and Hudson.
The animals will be on display from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and between Dec. 21 and Jan. 5, admission for children will be free.