ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido -- The first newborn polar bear cub seen in 40 years at a zoo in this northern Japan city has been named "Yume," meaning "dream."
In the naming ceremony held at Asahiyama Zoo on July 2 for the cub, 18-year-old Emiri Nitto, 18, a resident of the neighboring town of Higashikawa who came up with the name, said, "I hope she will carry everyone's dream and swim well."
Though the zoo was Japan's first to successfully breed a polar bear, until Yume was born on Dec. 10 last year, it had not produced any cubs since 1981. She has since grown to 90 to 100 centimeters long and weighs roughly 40 kilograms. She is also now able to swim energetically.
Asahiyama Zoo's public relations office put out a public call for name suggestions, and "Yume" was picked from 1,547 proposals. Zoo Director Gen Bando said, "A lot has happened in the last two years with the coronavirus pandemic, but we hope people will be able to dream in the future. I think it's a good name with a such wish."
(Japanese original by Nobuaki Tsuchiya, Asahikawa Bureau)