Nikita, Berlin loving bloom at Polar Bear Passage at KC Zoo - FOX Carolina 21

Rolling in dirt, playing water polo has polar bears busy at Kansas City Zoo

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The days are growing longer and warmer, and Nikita is finally learning how to stand up to Berlin.

Since the two were brought together in early February, Berlin has ruled the roost at the Polar Bear Passage at the Kansas City Zoo. The two bears are together 24/7 except separated in the mornings for meal times.

But over the past week, Nikita has begun to stand up more to her and actually chase her around. He even stole her favorite sleeping spot one afternoon.

The spunky and bossy Berlin has often disdained Nikita's company with limited interaction after they staked out their territories.

Kansas City Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff last month said that "Mama" Berlin is in charge.

"The minute they got together she pretty much let him know there's a new sheriff in town by the name of Berlin. It's her exhibit, her pool and her toys. If he treats her right, he's going to be allowed in."

Perhaps Nikita is finally passing the polar bear test.

Berlin's begun pestering him as he settles in for his daily early evening siesta in his sandy pit sleeping spot.

She's even seen to check on him, with him lifting up his sleepy head as if to say, "Leave me alone." She then flopped down in her sunny spot for her own nap.

Perhaps playing hard to get is working for him.

And Berlin was definitely curious as Nikita rolled around in the dirt Thursday morning. That led to them playing, tussling, fighting and splashing about for almost two hours.

Nikita even hopped up on a rock and repeatedly dove on top of Berlin. But she didn't back down and stuck around for more splish splashing.

Each seems to enjoy different areas of the pool. Nikita churns up the water while doing laps in the front area while Berlin prefers grace spins in the back area of the pool.

But Thursday, Berlin stuck around in Nikita's area to play water polo. While Nikita's a young pup who can go and go before crashing like a teen boy, Berlin is 23 years old and needs her beauty rest. After the two hours of fun, she crawled into her sunny spot and crashed hard.

You can watch the evolution of the polar bears' relationship on the polar cam at the Kansas City Zoo. It's at www.kctv5.com/nikita. You can view it on your desktop. Upgrades are in the works that will soon make it available on most smart phones and tablets.

Zoo officials who know Berlin's history are pleasantly surprised to see her spending so much time in the water while at the Kansas City Zoo. She seldom could be coaxed into the water at her zoos in Minnesota.

Some believed this came because of traumatic experiences. An aggressive polar bear at her home zoo in Duluth pushed her out of the pool and into the moat twice and she survived a devastating storm that flooded her home. That flood led to her coming to the Kansas City Zoo.

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