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2 Cubs + 2 tubs: Takoda and Nora show us how to stay cool

May 7, 2021, 4:09 p.m.
Topic: Community, Animal well-being
Rescued black bear Takoda enjoys a soak in the tub at the Oregon Zoo.

Playful bear pair make an internet splash as they enjoy some spring tub time

As a stretch of warm spring weather settled around Portland over the past month, 11-year-old Takoda and 5-year-old Nora did what many youngsters do: headed for their wading pools to cool off.

These youngsters though were a 400-pound black bear and a 500-pound polar bear at the Oregon Zoo, and their "wading pools" a pair of sturdy 300-gallon tubs that caregivers filled with cool water and ice for the furry denizens of Black Bear Ridge and Polar Passage.

What happened once they hopped in is the kind of stuff the internet was made for:
A video of Takoda enjoying some splashy bath time has already earned more than 4 million views on the zoo's Facebook page, and another of Nora's antics in a tub filled with ice is set to follow in those big paw prints.

"These are a couple of goofy, playful bears," said Amy Cutting, the zoo's interim director of animal care and conservation. "They were each just cooling down and having some fun on a nice spring day. Keepers work really hard to come up with fun activities for the animals, and it's always rewarding to see them making the most of it."

Takoda, whose name means "friend to all" in Sioux, arrived at the Oregon Zoo in November 2010. He had been orphaned as a cub in Montana, where he was found hungry and dehydrated, weighing less than 3 pounds. Rescued by wildlife officials, the young cub was nursed back to health but could not be released back to the wild, so a new home was found for him at the zoo's Black Bear Ridge.

Nora was born Nov. 6, 2015, at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and recently returned to Portland after a three-year stay at Utah's Hogle Zoo while the Oregon Zoo built its new Polar Passage habitat.  Learn more about Nora's story.

Donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation's $8.5 million Heart of the Oregon Zoo campaign enhance new habitats for polar bears, primates and black rhinos while investing in the zoo's animal welfare, conservation and education efforts. Learn more and donate.

As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor's checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and northern leopard frogs.