A Polar Bear cub born November 11 at the Toronto Zoo is steadily improving under the intensive care of her keepers. Her fuzzy fur is growing in, but her eyes haven't opened yet.
Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
The female cub was one of two born to mom Aurora. Both cubs were attempting to nurse shortly after birth, but one of the cubs died soon afterward. The staff eventually determined that Aurora, who was exhibiting good maternal instincts, was not producing any milk for her babies.
The surviving cub was moved to an incubator and remains there today, though the incubator’s temperature is slowly being lowered to room temperature. The cub is fed eight times a day. After feeding, she enjoys 10-15 minutes of “play time,” where she squirms about.
The zoo staff is pleased that the cub is doing well, but they point out that the first three months are critical for Polar Bear cubs. For now, the cub remains in the zoo’s medical center, where she is not viewable by zoo guests.
Native to Arctic waters and land masses, Polar Bears are supremely adapted to survive in cold temperatures. They spend most of their time on sea ice, from which they hunt for seals in the frigid waters. Polar Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Tighter hunting regulations have helped some populations to rebound after decades of declining numbers. Many scientists believe that climate change has negatively impacted Polar Bears, causing a reduction in sea ice. As sea ice melts earlier in the season, Polar Bears are forced to move to shore before sufficiently building up their fat reserves for the coming winter.