UPDATE: Polar Bear Twins Visit the Vet
March 01, 2014
Twin Polar Bears born on December 9 at Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo got their first medical checkup last week and were proclaimed in excellent health.
You first met the twins on ZooBorns just a few weeks after they were born to mother Giovanna, age 7, and father Yoghi, age 14. For the twins’ exam, zoo staff members separated the babies from Giovanna for the first time.
Photo Credit: Munich Zoo Hellabrunn
The zoo’s three veterinarians performed a quick medical checkup. They weighed the babies, determined their gender, and inserted an identification chip in each cub. After just five minutes with the vets, the cubs were returned to Giovanna, who conducted her own very detailed inspection of her cubs before allowing them to nurse.
"As I suspected, the twins are a girl and a boy. And quite surprisingly, the girl is considerably stronger, weighing 5.4 kg (12 lb). The darker of the two is the boy, who weighs 4.6 kg (10 lb)," says zoo director Dr. Andreas Knieriem.
Dr. Christine Gohl is equally impressed: "The polar bear babies are healthy. The chips mean they now also have an 'identity card' and can be properly registered in Hellabrunn Zoo's animal database."
The two baby polar bears will still be protected by their mother Giovanna in their Arctic-style family home for several weeks to come, without contact with the outside world. They will probably venture outdoors for the first time in late March. It is not yet known whether father Yoghi will join the family or continue to be separated from them. Zoo keepers will base their decision on how Giovanna reacts to him.