Sniffing and eying each other, Nikita and Berlin were able to finally come face to face on Friday for the first time.
The Kansas City Zoo posted on its Facebook page Friday that the two polar bears are making good progress in their "Howdy" sessions. And a big accomplishment occurred Friday morning before nap time.
"For the first time, they were side-by-side," the zoo said.
A barrier separated the two massive bears.
"(They) were close enough to see eye to eye and sniff nose to nose," the zoo said. "No physical interaction occurred, in fact, after the initial grunts, posturing and deep breaths, each laid down for a nap."
The polar bears won't be allowed to have physical interaction until the staff can determine they will not be aggressive toward each other. The bears will determine how long that will take.
Berlin arrived to the zoo from Minnesota late last year. She went on public display to rave reviews last month.
Nikita is 6 years old while Berlin is 23 years old.
The two now only get to blossom their bear bond a couple hours a day. The bears are brought together from about 9:30 to 10:30 in the mornings and about 2:30 to 3:30 in the afternoons.
While they are behind the scenes, the zoo keepers clean the exhibit to freshen it up. Berlin is given free roam of the public exhibit from about 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Nikita gets to romp around his pad that he's now having to share with a cougar bear from 3:30 p.m. onward until the next morning. There is a second, behind-the-scenes area complete with pool that the bears have access to when they aren't on public display.
Zookeepers continue to monitor them as they work toward putting the two bears together with no limitations. The hope is they will mate.
"This closeness is monitored by our professional staff and will continue until it is determined they are ready for the next step. If you do not see them on exhibit they are behind the scenes saying, 'Howdy" to each other," according to the zoo's Facebook posting.
If you can't go out to the zoo this weekend, you can always watch Nikita and Berlin on the Sonic Polar Bear cam on KCTV5's website when they are on display at Polar Bear Passage. Go to www.kctv5.com/nikita to watch and see more pictures and information about Nikita and Berlin.
Copyright2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:45:17 GMT
It's not a disease and it's not contagious, but "Invisible Black Dog Syndrome" is a sad, real condition affecting local animal shelters. The term refers to the propensity of would-be-adopters walkingMore >
It's not a disease and it's not contagious, but "Invisible Black Dog Syndrome" is a sad, real condition affecting animal shelters. More >
Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:50 AM EDT2014-07-29 09:50:38 GMT
Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.More >
Listeria is listed on the the baby's death certificate as an immediate cause of her death. Her mother, says that while she was pregnant, she ate food that was part of a recent, nation-wide Listeria recall.More >
Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:55 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:55:24 GMT
A 24-year-old man has been charged in connection with the June 14 shooting that killed Christopher Mondaine in a parking lot near Sixth Street and Grand Avenue.More >
A 24-year-old man has been charged in connection with the June 14 shooting that killed Christopher Mondaine in a parking lot near Sixth Street and Grand Avenue, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Tuesday.More >
Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:09 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:09:00 GMT
KU and Washburn University among five more schools added to the list of colleges and universities under scrutiny for how they handled investigations into sexual assaults.More >
The University of Kansas and Washburn University are joining a list that college officials won't be bragging about. They are among five more schools added to the list of colleges and universities under investigation for how they handled investigations into sexual assaults.More >