The Polar Bear cub, at the Toronto Zoo, continues to grow and gain strength. At just over two months old, she is still quite wobbly on her feet but works hard to get up on all fours.
She feeds six times a day and was recently introduced to eating from a bowl. The little female continues to explore and become more mobile, bright and alert. Her fuzzy white coat is also becoming thicker.
The cub is still in a critical period of development and is not yet visible to the public.
On November 11, 2015 the Zoo’s staff were delighted to find that Aurora, one of the Toronto Zoo’s two female Polar Bears, gave birth to two cubs. Despite Aurora showing perfect maternal instincts, including attempting to nurse the cubs shortly after birth, staff were saddened to discover that one of the cubs did not survive the first 24 hours. The remaining female cub was moved to the Zoo's intensive care unit (ICU) in the Wildlife Health Centre (WHC) to give her the best chance of survival.
"Aurora demonstrated good maternal instincts and her cubs did attempt to nurse, but it appears she was not producing any milk to feed her newborns,” said Eric Cole, Manager, Wildlife Care.
Once the cub was moved to the WHC, a team consisting of veterinary staff and animal care experts began the continuous process of monitoring her temperature, taking blood samples, weighing her and feeding her a special formula which has been perfected over time by the Toronto Zoo’s staff given their past experiences hand raising polar bear cubs.
The Polar Bear cub’s care staff are continuing to take the approach of ‘one day at a time’ and adjusting to her daily needs.
Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north, including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar Bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the Polar Bear population could disappear by the year 2050. They are currently classified as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List.
Toronto Zoo continues to be involved in a collaborative research project involving multiple accredited zoos to understand Polar Bear reproductive biology. To support their work in Polar Bear conservation, visit http://ow.ly/WC2T1.