Nikita was named after a Russian polar bear researcher. He was born on November 21, 2006, at the Toledo Zoo.
He currently weighs over 1000 pounds. Nikita eats about 16 pounds of fish (herring, capelin and trout), 5 pounds of dog food and 1 ½ pounds of lard each day.
He receives other food like fruits and vegetables as treats and rewards as part of his training.
Young male polar bears at Nikita's age live and explore on their own. Nikita's behind-the-scenes area is divine. There are bedrooms designed for up to three adult bears along with a cub room and diet preparation area.
Nikita has a new playmate. The Kansas City Zoo got late last year, Berlin, a 23-year-old female. She was brought here as part of a Species Survival Plan breeding recommendation in the hopes of one day having cubs. All of the animals at the Kansas City Zoo receive enrichment items to keep them active; Nikita’s favorite are large plastic barrels. Berlin has her own barrel decorated with her name in bright colors. She is smaller than Nikita.
The Kansas City Zoo is working with other zoos in the United States to acquire additional polar bears in hopes of someday having cubs.
Polar bears can live into their 30s in zoos. The pool in the exhibit is kept at 65 degrees during warm months. Nikita and Berlin's dens or bedrooms are also kept at 65 degrees. This helps to keep them cool.
Plants on the green roof provides insulation for the building and help the environment by increasing oxygen output.