Detroit Zoo welcomes first 2 polar bear cubs born since 2004

Posted at 9:04 PM, Jan 28, 2021

ROYAL OAK, Mich. — There's cuteness overload at the Detroit Zoo since two polar bear cubs were born on Nov. 17, 2020. The cubs are the first to be born and "successfully" raised at the zoo since 2004, according to officials.


The cubs haven't been named yet. Zoo officials say the two were born in a "specially-designed, private maternity den." Their mother, 8-year-old Suka, previously gave birth to cubs in 2018 and 2019, but none survived. This time around, there was brief concern for one of the cubs who was becoming inactive and appearing weak.

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The Detroit Zoo welcomes two new adorable polar bear cubs.
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The Detroit Zoo welcomes two new adorable polar bear cubs.

That female cub was monitored at the Detroit Zoo's Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex, where she received around-the-clock care. That cub went from weighing 1.2 pounds at 2 days old, to 11.3 pounds today. She's now moved from an incubator to a playpen. Zoo officials say she'll eventually move on to live with other bears, but it's unclear now if she'll be reunited with her mother and sibling.

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The Detroit Zoo welcomes two new adorable polar bear cubs.

Suka is still caring for her other cub. It's unclear at this time if that cub is male or female. Right now, Suka's being very attentive while nursing, grooming and cuddling her cub, officials say.

The bear cubs can't be viewed by guests just yet. However, the cubs' dad, Nuka, a 16-year-old polar bear, and 20-year-old Anana, can be seen at the Detroit Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life's tundra and pack ice habitats.

The cubs' birth was part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Polar Bear Species Survival Plan, a cooperative population management and conservation program that helps ensure the sustainability of healthy captive animal populations, a release states.

For more information on polar bears at the Detroit Zoo, visit

Detroit Zoo welcomes 2 polar bear cubs