SCIENCE

Ridiculously Cute Polar Bear Cub Makes A Splash With Public Debut

Go, Nora!

It seems like only yesterday that we were cooing over newborn polar bear Nora.

But here she is, just over five months later, making her public debut at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. And what a change!

She's no longer the helpless critter who struggled to stay awake. She's now a bold and fearless polar bear -- who can swim, run and jump just like any other.

The courageous cub even knows how to belly-flop into the water in pursuit of a toy:

The zoo posted footage of her playful Friday debut, witnessed by 1,000 people, to Facebook and YouTube. The videos are now going viral.

Visitors can see Nora every day for one hour from 9:30 a.m., zoo officials said: "Viewing times are based on her health and well-being and will be expanded as she grows bigger and stronger."

Born on Nov. 6, 2015, Nora weighed just 1 pound. She is now over 50 times heavier. A previous Facebook post detailed how the zoo's animal care staff were hand-rearing the cub after her mother, Aurora, stopped caring for her.

Wild polar bears are found in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Greenland and Norway, and do not live in the Southern Hemisphere, according to the zoo's website.

Females live for an average 24.1 years and can grow to 8 feet tall and 550 pounds. Males live on average for 20.7 years and grow to 10 feet tall and 1,500 pounds. Disappearing sea ice is causing polar bear populations to plummet, with only 20,000 to 25,000 now in the wild. 

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