Say hello to Baffin and Willow, Winnipeg zoo’s latest polar bear cubs

The Assiniboine Park Zoo’s newest polar bear cubs now have names — Willow and Baffin.

​The bears arrived at the Winnipeg zoo in early December 2017 after being found orphaned in Churchill.

The Assiniboine Park Conservancy launched an online naming poll on Tuesday, giving the public the opportunity to vote on the option of Baffin or Arctic for the male cub and Willow or Tundra for the female.

Polar bear

The name for the male cub is Baffin. The other option was Arctic. (Assiniboine Park Conservancy)

The choices were selected from suggestions submitted by the zoo’s polar bear zookeeper team.

Close to 5,000 votes were cast for each polar bear cub in three days. The results were tallied Thursday evening with the clear winners being Baffin and Willow.

The duo, who are not related, will make their first public appearance at 11  a.m. Friday at the zoo’s Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.

With the addition of the new cubs, the zoo is now home to 11 polar bears.

Seven of those currently reside in the Journey to Churchill exhibit while four, including the new cubs, are in the Leatherdale conservation centre.

All bears at the zoo start there until they are mature enough to make the transition to the main exhibit.

While in the conservation centre — a renovated part of the zoo that used to be the original bear enclosures — the cubs can still be viewed by the public.

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