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Healthy Polar Bear Cubs Born At Dierenrijk Mierlo

Mierlo, November 30, 2023 - A healthy polar bear has been born in Dierenrijk. The delivery took place peacefully in the Frimas polar bear maternity. Mother and the newborn are doing well.

Head animal caretaker Stephan Rijnen: "In early November, we noticed that the mother was retreating to the maternity room. From this, we could deduce that the mating we observed in March was likely successful! A polar bear gestation lasts about eight months, so we had to wait a bit. Tuesday morning, we reviewed the camera footage and discovered good news! A young polar bear the size of a guinea pig was lying with mother Frimas."

IJsbeer Frimas met jong (1)

The maternity room is a separate enclosure connected to the indoor enclosure of the polar bears in Dierenrijk. This space is built so that pregnant polar bears can withdraw for childbirth. When designing the maternity room, the natural behavior of female polar bears in the wild was also taken into account.

Rijnen: "In the wild, the expectant mother goes into winter hibernation, in the snow den she has dug herself. First, the mother eats to fullness so that she is strong enough to survive the winter. The birth of the cubs also happens in this tranquility. Only upon awakening will she meet her offspring."

IJsbeer Frimas met jong (2)

Therefore, the mother and the newborn will remain safely in the maternity room for the next few months. Rijnen: "In about a month, the eyes will only open. The cub needs to grow before facing the outside world. Right now, it's still too small." It is expected that the newborn will grow an average of 200 grams per day in the coming months.

In Dierenrijk, a screen will be set up showing a live connection to the maternity room. "This way, visitors can still catch a glimpse of the development of the young polar bear!" says Rijnen.

IJsbeer Frimas met jong (4)


The status of polar bears in the wild is 'vulnerable.' This means that if the natural habitat of polar bears is not better protected, the species is at great risk of extinction.

IJsbeer Frimas met jong (3)

Polar bears are threatened because their habitat is shrinking, mainly due to climate change. As the ice melts, it becomes difficult for polar bears to hunt ringed seals, the main food source for the species. In the search for food, polar bears increasingly enter inhabited areas, leading to conflicts between the local population and polar bears. This results in dangerous situations for both the local population and the polar bears.

Contribution from Dierenrijk

The polar bears in Dierenrijk are genetically the most important pair in the European management program. The management program ensures a healthy population in zoos. Each species has one studbook keeper from this program who critically examines both the genetic background of the animals and the available space for offspring in European zoos. Based on this information, the studbook keeper provides advice. Rijnen: "Currently, in Europe, there are only three polar bear pairs with a recommendation. The question remains, of course, whether young animals actually result from these recommendations. It makes it extra special that we have succeeded here at Dierenrijk!"

IJsbeer Frimas met jong (5)

Polar Bears International

Through the Wildlife Foundation, Dierenrijk supports Polar Bears International. This organization not only protects the polar bear but also the ice on which these bears depend. Polar Bears International does this through education, research, and by engaging in political discussions.

Image credits: Dierenrijk.