Pirika, 2016 (used with permission; this image is © Viki Pandit and must not to be used without the owner’s permission)

Name:  Pirika (aka Pirka) (female)

Born: 15 December 2005 in Sapporo Maruyama Zoo, Hokkaidō, Japan

Mother:  Lara

Father:  Denali

Siblings: Tsuyoshi (female) born 2003, Ikoro (male) born 2008, Kiroku (male) born 2008, Aira (female) born 2010, Maruru (female) born 2012, Pororo (female) born 2012, Lira (female) born 2014.

Current location: Asahiyama Zoo, Hokkaidō, Japan

History of captivity:

  1. Born in captivity in Sapporo Maruyama Zoo, Hokkaidō, Japan on 15 December 2005
  2. Transferred to Obihiro Zoo, Hokkaidō, Japan on 2 February 2007
  3. Arrived at Sapporo Mountain Zoo 9 December 2018

Progeny:  Cub born 10 December 2021 – sex unknown at present.  One of triplets, two of the cubs died shortly after delivery.

Additional Information

Pirika was originally thought to be a male bear, the error only being discovered during a health check when she was two years old.  See “Polar bears confused after zoo botches gender tests” (opens in new window).

The name “Pirika” is from the Ainu language and means “beautiful” (link opens in new window).

The video below was published on2 June 2012 and purports to show Pirika “rejoicing”.  This, however, is a clear display of stress-induced stereotypical behaviour.

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Page updated 08 January 2022