Twin Polar Bear cubs were born at the Toledo Zoo on November 21, but they’ve been behind the scenes with their mother Crystal until last week, when they stepped outdoors for a sneak peek. The cubs, who have not yet been named, are not expected to go into their exhibit until sometime in May.
The zoo staff monitors the twins by remote camera to reduce the stress on Crystal, age 13, and allow her to devote her energies to caring for her babies. The twins’ father is Marty, the zoo’s resident male Polar Bear.
“This is the fourth litter of Polar Bears the Zoo has had since 2006,” Dr. Randi Meyerson, curator of mammals, said. “I credit our success to high-quality animal care, the staff’s relationship with the animals, the bears’ good temperaments and an outstanding facility. When the Arctic Encounter® opened in 2000, it was a state-of-the-art facility, and it still is.”
The Zoo’s cubs have an important future as ambassadors for a species, protected under the Endangered Species Act, which faces grave threats in their native habitat. “Human activities have a direct effect on Polar Bears,” Dr. Meyerson said, “and their plight should encourage all of us to decrease our carbon footprint.”
Polar Bears in United States zoos are managed by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Through this cooperative breeding and conservation program, zoos nationwide work together to maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations.
Jeff Sailer, the Zoo’s executive director, said, “As the number of Polar Bears in the wild decreases, it’s more important than ever that cubs in zoo settings serve as ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild. We hope these cubs inspire our visitors to join us in caring for Polar Bears and their environment.”