Louisville Zoo celebrates polar bear's birthday

Louisville Zoo celebrates polar bear's birthday

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Louisville Zoo hosted a party Saturday to celebrate the fourth birthday of Qannik, the polar bear who was rescued in Alaska and flown to Louisville after being separated from her mother.

Qannik was born in January 2011 in a snow-den built by her mother to protect her from the Alaskan winter. Because she was born in the wild, her exact birthday is unknown, but officials assigned it as January 10.

A few months later, researchers spotted Qannik alone, her mother nowhere in sight. After conducting an aerial search for her mother, they rescued the underfed Qannik, who had not yet learned the skills necessary to survive in the wild.

After a brief stay at the Alaska Zoo, Qannik was flown to the Louisville Zoo and its Glacier Run habitat, where she has been since June 2011.

The zoo posted pictures of the event via Qannik's Twitter account and said the bear celebrated her birthday eating yummy treats and tossing her gifts around.

Visitors on Qannik's birthday, including a WAVE 3 News crew, signed a giant birthday card for the bear.

The name "Qannik" means snowflake in the Inupiaq language.

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