Two artificially inseminated polar bears at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

To protect the species, two female polar bears from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have been artificially inseminated, the zoo announced last week.

If successful, it would be the first birth of the species due to artificial insemination, according to the zoo.

The Columbus Zoo’s animal health and care teams have been involved in the process on the twin cubs, Anana and Aurora, in hopes they will produce future cubs. The procedure took place on March 17 at the Powell Zoo, after months of planning.

Unlike humans, there’s no way to tell if a polar bear is pregnant until shortly before she gives birth, which in this case would be expected in November or December.

According to the zoo, the animals received sperm from Lee, a male polar bear from the Louisville Zoo, who lived at the Columbus Zoo from November 2018 to August 2020. While in Columbus, Lee fathered a male cub, Kulu , with Aurora.

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