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Polar bears spend first night as roommates; 'went really well,' AK zoo says

Cranbeary and Lyutyik meet for the first time, "mouthing" one another. Photo...
Cranbeary and Lyutyik meet for the first time, "mouthing" one another. Photo by zoo photographer John Gomes. (KTUU)
Published: Feb. 1, 2019 at 11:56 AM AKST
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Alaska Zoo's two polar bears, including the relative newcomer from the Denver Zoo, are now living together, and officials at the zoo said their first night together was a success.

New female Cranbeary and longtime Alaska Zoo male Lyutyik, also known as Louie, are now sharing a habitat the zoo, and officials captured their first physical meeting on camera.

"Cranbeary is about half Louie's size, but she has attitude," Pat Lampi, executive director of the Alaska Zoo, told Channel 2. "She went up to him, and even had him backing up as she went closer."

The two displayed what Lampi described as a little "mouthing," where the two bears got up close and personal with play biting, but overall zoo officials said there was "no aggression, nothing we thought was a problem."

Cranbeary was initially in a nearby enclosure separated by bars, while the two bears got used to each other's scents, and zoo officials made sure that she wasn't pregnant from the male bear she was paired with in Denver.

As far as getting pregnant with Louie, it's within the realm of possibility, but the zoo isn't prompting the two into anything. "If it happens, it happens," Lampi said.

Lampi likened the meeting to when Ahpun, the female polar bear who died just over one year ago, first met Louie. The two became longtime friends, with Louie initially worrying zoo officials with his despondent behaviors after Ahpun died.

“We're really glad about it, seeing the bears become companions," Lampi said of the new duo.

A full video of the two bears meeting was uploaded by the zoo, and can be viewed below. Additionally, the zoo is providing a live feed of the bear habitat which can be