Klondike and Snow: when these cubs were born, their keepers had to become polar bear parents.Outside a polar bear polar bear, large white bear, Ursus maritimus, formerly Thalarctos maritimus, of the coasts of arctic North America. Polar bears usually live on drifting pack ice, but sometimes wander long distances inland. den at the Denver Zoo The Denver Zoo is an 80-acre  facility located in City Park of Denver, Colorado. Founded in 1896, it is owned by the City and County of Denver and funded in part by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). , two tiny cubs lay on the cold floor. Zookeepers found them there just hours after they had been born and abandoned by their mother.
The cubs were so chilled that thermometers did not show any body warmth at all. On that day, November 6, 1994, the zoo began its fight to save the twin cubs, Klondike and Snow.
The birth of the cubs was a surprise. The zookeepers thought they might see baby polar bears someday because the mother, Ulu, had mated with another polar bear about a year before.
But Ulu was not acting like a mother-to-be. "In the wild, polar bears about to give birth will den up," says Dr. David Kenny, senior veterinarian veterinarian /vet·er·i·nar·i·an/ (vet?er-i-nar´e-an) a person trained and authorized to practice veterinary medicine and surgery; a doctor of veterinary medicine.
n. at the zoo.
"They'll begin to dig in to cover by digging; as, to dig in manure s>.
To entrench oneself so as to give stronger resistance; - used of warfare or negotiating situations.
See also: Dig Dig , become withdrawn, and claw claw (klaw) a nail of an animal, particularly a carnivore, that is long and curved and has a sharp end.
cat's claw a woody South American vine, Uncaria tomentosa out a den of hard-packed snow or ice," he says. "There are usually two room -- one for the mother and one to serve as a playroom for the cubs."
Ulu didn't have snow for digging at her zoo home. Instead, she had a dark, quiet room where she could arrange straw and dirt to prepare for birth. But she didn't seem interested.
Ulu didn't fatten up Verb 1. fatten up - make fat or plump; "We will plump out that poor starving child"
fat, fatten, fatten out, flesh out, plump out, plump, fill out
alter, change, modify - cause to change; make different; cause a transformation; "The advent of the automobile either. Usually, the body of a female polar bear will not let her eggs develop until her body has built up a large store of fat.
The fat is an important sign to the mother's body that there is enough food to give the cubs a good chance to survive. Ulu broke this rule, too. She never gained weight.
Even so, she gave birth to two cubs. But Ulu was too young. Like many young polar bear mothers in the wild, she was not ready to take care of her babies. She put them outside the den.
"I wasn't sure they'd last the night," Dr. Kenny says. But he knew that someone would have to take Ulu's place. That job belonged to him and his staff, veterinary assistants Veterinary Assistants help veterinarians care for animals. The preferred education is completion of a CTE Program and high school diploma/GED. The job does not require certification or licensing. Veterinary assistants need to enjoy working with animals and owners. Cindy Bickel and Denny Roling.
Making the cubs warm was the first challenge. Because polar bear cubs are tiny and blind at birth, they depend on their mothers for everything, including warmth.
"Until you hold one in the palm of your hand, you don't realize how tiny they are," Cindy says.
The cubs' first home was a warming case called an incubator incubator, apparatus for the maintenance of controlled conditions in which eggs can be hatched artificially. Incubator houses with double walls of mud, a fireroom, and several compartments each holding about 6,000 hens' eggs were developed in ancient times; the . The zookeepers used a type of incubator that is made for keeping newborn babies warm in hospitals. They lined the inside with fluffy white fleece fleece, mat of wool formed by shearing a sheep in one continuous operation. The average fleece weighs from 5 to 10 lb (2.3–4.5 kg); in highbred wool sheep such as the American Merinos a ram's fleece may reach 30 lb (13.6 kg). for Snow and Klondike. Over the next few hours, the keepers warmed the cubs to the healthy temperature of eighty-six degrees.
As the cubs started to feel better, they did what human babies do so well: they cried. Now that they were warm, Klondike and Snow were hungry.
The babies' new parents had to make imitation polar bear milk, but no one could tell them how to do it. Dr. Kenny estimates that fewer than a dozen newborn polar bears have been raised in American zoos. So Klondike and Snow's caretakers had to develop a polar bear formula of their own, with only a few suggestions from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
They mixed a puppy formula with cow's milk, cream, vitamins, minerals, and cod liver oil cod liver oil
an oil pressed from the fresh liver of the cod and purified. It is one of the best-known natural sources of vitamin D, and a rich source of vitamin A. Because cod liver oil is more easily absorbed than other oils, it was formerly widely used as a nutrient and tonic, . The twins guzzled the formula from baby bottles and began feeding every two hours.
New babies need round-the-clock attention. So when the polar bear experts went home, Snow, Klondike, and their incubator went home, too. The cubs no longer needed the incubator for warmth. But the bears still liked to sleep in it.
"We took turns, each of us taking a night every three evenings," says Dr. Kenny. No one person could have cared for the cubs every night because that person wouldn't have had any sleep. The bears woke up crying about every fifteen minutes.
At home, each babysitter babysitter A person, often an intelligent family member, who stays by the bedside of a Pt requiring mechanical ventilation, and guards for equipment malfunctions or other problems slept on the floor by the incubator. "It wasn't long before I figured out how to put my hand inside the incubator, even in my sleep, so they could suck on my fingers for comfort," Cindy says.
To her surprise, in a matter of days, the babies began to purr as they sucked on her fingers. The sound was more like a small motor than a kitten's purr.
By the time Snow and Klondike were a month old, their eyes opened and they woke up ready to play.
"They wanted to climb out of the incubator and crawl in the sleeping bags with us," Denny says.
But baby polar bears that feed every two hours also wet almost as often. "I wasn't real fond of their wetting the sleeping bag with me in it," Denny says.
He arranged for Snow and Klondike to share a sleeping bag. When they outgrew out·grew
Past tense of outgrow. the incubator, they simply used the sleeping bag at night. "I really think the sleeping bag felt close and secure -- like a den," he says.
After three months, Snow and Klondike were big enough to sleep in the zoo nursery. Dr. Kenny. Cindy, and Denny slept over now and then, just for fun.
But the caretakers' daytime duties were far from over. The Denver Zoo staff had to teach Snow and Klondike everything their mother would normally teach them. Those lessons included how to drink safely.
I had read articles about young animals YOUNG ANIMALS. It is a rule that the young of domestic or tame animals belong to the owner of the dam or mother, according to the maxim Partus sequitur ventrem. Dig. 6, 1, 5, 2; Inst. 2, 1, 9. drowning or taking in too much water as they drank." Cindy says. The team taught the cubs how to drink by giving them large blocks of ice. The cubs learned to lap up water slowly as the ice melted.
In time, ice became one of Klondike and Snow's favorite toys. After their fur grew thick, they often became hot. And what could be more refreshing for an overheated o·ver·heat
v. o·ver·heat·ed, o·ver·heat·ing, o·ver·heats
1. To heat too much.
2. To cause to become excited, agitated, or overstimulated.
v.intr. polar bear than sliding spread-eagle across a huge slab of ice?
"They would play like that for hours," Denny says. "They also loved to crawl inside a plastic garbage can. And they loved toy balls, especially after the balls deflated de·flate
v. de·flat·ed, de·flat·ing, de·flates
a. To release contained air or gas from.
b. To collapse by releasing contained air or gas.
2. a little so they could hold them in their mouths."
"And peekaboo," Cindy says. "Like a human baby, they liked playing peekaboo with their blankets."
Snow and Klondike followed the three Denver Zoo caretakers wherever they went. The cubs ran to them when they were frightened or unsure and played with them for hours at a time.
But cute little cubs grow into big wild animals WILD ANIMALS. Animals in a state of nature; animals ferae naturae. Vide Animals; Ferae naturae. . Adult polar bears can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. Klondike and Snow cared for their new mothers, but the bears' instincts sometimes turned ferocious.
Just after the cubs turned eight month; old, Cindy was feeding Klondike with a bottle while Dr. Kenny and Denny examined Snow. Baby Klondike finished his snack before Snow's checkup check·up
1. An examination or inspection.
2. A general physical examination.
checkup See Yearly checkup. was done. Klondike -- all 155 pounds of him -- wanted more.
The hungry cub snarled snarl 1
v. snarled, snarl·ing, snarls
1. To growl viciously while baring the teeth.
2. To speak angrily or threateningly.
v.tr. and demanded more milk. He trapped Cindy in a corner.
"We usually carried an extra bottle, just in case something like this happened," Cindy says. But this time Denny had the spare bottle, and he was busy with Snow. Soon, Denny and Dr. Kenny saw what was happening and tossed the bottle to one side of Klondike. The bear scampered after the bottle, and Cindy escaped.
Klondike didn't really want to hurt Cindy, Dr. Kenny says. The bear probably didn't even realize he was dangerous. But after that frightening moment, one thing was clear: it was time for Snow and Klondike to have a place of their own.
A special enclosure was made in the zoo for the polar bears, and Dr. Kenny, Cindy, and Denny walked the bears to their new home. The caretakers had done their job well -- and made polar bear history along the way.