It could have played out like a horrible blind date — with a capital "A" for awkward. But instead, polar bears Bill and Lara swam, played and bear-hugged on their first meeting at Lara’s place, the Zoom Erlebniswelt zoo, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The sweet twosome were set up by zookeepers who had hoped the pair would react just as they did, putting them on the path to happily ever after and — ultimately — to producing a bear cub.
Bill clocked some serious miles to woo this special lady; he came all the way from Zoo Brno in Bruenn, Czech Republic. And the Czechs will definitely miss him: Since their births in 2007, Bill and his brother Tom have been huge hits there. The two were products themselves of an arranged polar bear mating, with mom Cora (who now lives in Brno) and dad Umca in Kazakhstan.
Tom also was sent out to follow the family tradition of being a stud, but his arrival in Prague to meet Berta was a bust. “It was obvious that Tom was very nervous,” the Portal of Prague reported. “He banged his paws on the cage. He had not been given any sedatives for the journey, neither had he been bribed by some kind of treat.”
Lara and Bill have plenty of time to get comfortable with each other before any mating takes place. Prague Zoo spokesperson Vít Kahle says: “We will have to wait for five or six years for the bear to be able to become a father to new cubs.” Bill seems like he’s off to an excellent start.