BUFFALO, N.Y. — February 27 is International Polar Bear Day, and it was seven years ago this week that Luna the polar bear made her debut as an adorable little cub at the Buffalo Zoo.
Now, as she and her mate Sakari enter their third breeding season together, 2 On Your Side spoke with their primary keeper about when Luna might introduce some cubs of her own.
"Obviously we want polar bear babies," Caitlyn Bruce said. "They're adorable. Luna is beautiful, Sakari is handsome, and they're going to make just gorgeous babies."
For polar bears, the magic can only happen once a year, and that time is now.
"We can tell when breeding season starts, because Sakari will start looking for Luna across the divide of the exhibits," Bruce said.
They'll spend from now until May together, then Luna will go back off exhibit and on her own for denning season, when her body gets ready for a pregnancy.
"Polar bears have a very interesting reproductive technique, called delayed implantation, so they breed early in the year but the egg doesn't actually start developing until later on," Bruce said.
If all goes well, and she does get pregnant, Luna will likely have her cubs in November. They'd stay inside with her for a few months, and likely make their public debut sometime in March.
"It takes a little while for them to come outside. It's not like she immediately has cubs and they go outside as little tiny babies. It takes a couple months," Bruce said.
The average polar bear pregnancy brings two cubs, sometimes even three.
"I think Buffalo is just going to erupt in celebration," Bruce said. "Everybody loves Luna, everyone has seen Luna. So having her have cubs that would just be a huge thing for us. Like I said, this is just the beginning.
"We have many, many years of these two trying. Their bodies are doing what they're supposed to, so we know that they both can theoretically have cubs, so it's just a matter of getting it right."
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