Polar Bear

Tierpark Berlin’s Polar Bear Cub Has Big Day Out

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Tierpark Berlin’s Polar Bear cub ventured outdoors for the first time recently. Keepers watched with pride as the cub left the den with her mother, Tonja, and explored the outdoor exhibit for the very first time.

“Today is an extremely special day for the entire team here at Tierpark Berlin,” reported Tierpark Director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem. “After months of nervous waiting and crossing our fingers, I can hardly put the feeling of relief into words. We are delighted that visitors will finally get to see our little Polar Bear...”

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4_Eisbärin Tonja mit Nachwuchs_Tierpark Berlin 2019 (4)Photo Credits: Tierpark Berlin

The cub was born December 1, 2018 and spent the first three and a half months of her life with her mother, Tonja, in their maternity den. During that time, the helpless and tiny newborn grew into a strong and sturdy little bear.

“We are still extremely pleased with how the cub is developing,” said Polar Bear curator, Dr. Florian Sicks. “She has become so active and confident on her own four paws that it was clearly time for her to get outdoors.”

According to keepers, the cub has gained a lot of strength and confidence, so much so that during her second veterinary examination, she made it impossible for the team to weigh and measure her!

During her first introduction of the exhibit, the spritely young bear had hardly emerged from the den before she was off on a thorough exploration of her new surroundings. She clambered boldly over the rocks and even splashed around in the large pool.

“Young Polar Bears know instinctively how to swim as soon as they are big enough to leave the den with their mothers,” explained Sicks.

Protective mum Tonja never let her daughter out of her sight and was always standing by in case help was required.

According to the Zoo, Tonja and her cub will be spending time outdoors every day and will be on view to Tierpark visitors. Since outdoor adventures are rather tiring for small bears, the cub will still need to take regular rests with her mother in their den. The pair will therefore only be outside for a few hours at a time, especially in the early days.

The young Polar Bear is currently still yet-to-be-named, but Tierpark Berlin is in the process of deciding on the cub’s sponsor, which will then be involved in choosing a name. A decision on both the sponsor and the name is expected to be reached in early April.

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Polar Bear Cub Nibbles Toward New Milestone

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The Polar Bear cub, at Tierpark Berlin, is reaching toward another important milestone!

The female was born December 1, 2018 to parents, Tonja (age 9) and Volodya (age 7), and ZooBorns shared recent news of the cub’s first checkup in our feature: “Polar Bear Cub Brings ‘Girl Power’ to Tierpark Berlin”.

"The little Polar Bear is now interested in solid food and slowly nibbles meat pieces,” said Curator, Dr. Florian Sick. The new mom currently gets a daily portion of meat and a mix of carrots, lettuce and apples. Her new cub cannot miss the opportunity and occasionally manages to sample her mother’s meal. However, mother still regularly nurses the little bear.

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Zoo Director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem, is pleased with the good development of the cub. "We are very satisfied that the cub is quite cheeky and keeps her mother literally on the run around. Tonja always remains calm. She's just a really good Mama Bear."

By mid-March, the two will first go on a discovery tour of the grounds and will then be on exhibit for visitors to see.


Polar Bear Cub Brings ‘Girl Power’ to Tierpark Berlin

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During her first official veterinary exam, the Polar Bear cub at Tierpark Berlin demonstrated to staff that even a small bear has a lot of power!

New mother, Tonja, and her cub have spent their first eleven weeks tucked in cozy togetherness in the litter cave. The first vet exam not only determined the cub’s health, but the sex as well.

“The little Polar Bear is a cheery, strong girl. We were also able to convince ourselves personally of the development of the cub and are extremely satisfied,” shared Veterinarian/Zoo Director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem.

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4_Geschlechtbestimmung_Dr.Strauß_Dr. Knieriem_Tierpark Berlin_2019Photo Credits: Tierpark Berlin

Dr. Knieriem led the examination of the new cub, with the assistance of Dr. Günter Strauß and district manager Andrea Fleischer. After mom, Tonja, was lured with a warm soup of meat and carrots into the neighboring box, the vets were able to approach the youngster for the first time.

The female cub was also weighed, vaccinated, and treated for worms. With the three professional staff working together, the exam was over after about 15 minutes.

“The little Polar Bear, with a size of 61 cm from head to butt, proudly weighs 8.5 kg," explained Veterinarian, Dr. Günter Strauss.

Thanks to the extremely nutritious breast milk, with a fat content of about 30%, the cub’s size has increased rapidly in recent weeks. She currently nurses almost two hours a day, but the little bear has not dared to eat solid food.

According to Polar Bear Curator, Dr. Florian Sicks, zoo visitors will have to wait a bit to catch a glimpse of the new cub.

“Only when the little Polar Bear can safely follow mother, Tonja, will the two leave the nesting hole," Dr. Sicks explained. “This is expected to last until March.”

The cub was born December 1, 2018 to parents, Tonja (age 9) and Volodya (age 7). As in the wild, the father is not involved in the rearing of the cub.

The girl cub does not have a name yet, but Tierpark Berlin staff will announce plans for naming in the near future.


Baby Polar Bear Snuggles Into the New Year

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As the saying goes, “No news is good news” – and this applies to the Polar Bear den at Tierpark Berlin. The tiny infant born there on December 1 remains peacefully tucked away in the maternity den with its mother Tonja, and spends its days nursing and cuddling with mom.

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Tonja kuschelt mit Eisbärjungtier_Tierpark BerlinPhoto Credit: Tierpark Berlin

The zoo staff is taking a hands-off approach to the new cub, allowing Tonja to care for her baby just as wild Polar Bears do. Mothers and cubs spend several months in their den, emerging in the spring.  The staff, including curator Dr. Florian Sick, uses remote camera technology to observe mom and baby every hour. "Based on the video images, I can see that the offspring has become really mischievous over the holidays. The little bear is also getting more and more active,” explains Dr. Sick.

Baby Polar Bears have a high mortality rate – in the wild, up to 85% of Polar Bears do not survive past two years of age. Dr. Sick cautions that although the cub is thriving so far, the outlook for its survival is still precarious. But for now, the zookeepers celebrate every gram that the little Polar Bear gains.

In about a month, Dr. Sick expects that the staff will have a chance to conduct a hands-on examination of the cub. By that time, Tonja will start leaving her baby in the den for short periods while she eats and drinks outdoors. While Tonja is out of the den, zookeepers can quickly weigh and examine the infant.

It’s hard for the keepers to wait to meet the cub in person, especially when they see adorable images of the baby on the remote cameras. But all agree on one wish for the new year – a healthy, active baby Polar Bear.

Wild Polar Bears face many threats, including diminishing sea ice which limits their ability to hunt. Many scientists believe that climate change is the root cause of Polar Bears’ clouded future.


Baby Polar Bear Gaining Strength At Tierpark Berlin

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A tiny Polar Bear cub born at Tierpark Berlin has passed an important milestone and is now just over two weeks old.

Born on December 1 to mother Tonja, the little Bear spends its days snuggled in a private den and tucked against mom’s warm furry body.

The zoo’s curator, Dr. Florian Sick, keeps close tabs on the newborn. Modern camera technology allows Dr. Sick to check on mom and baby in the maternity den from his smart phone at any moment of the day. This allows the staff to observe but not disturb the Polar Bears.

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Tonja und Jungtier_Tierpark Berlin_2018Photo Credit: Tierpark Berlin

From his observations, Dr. Sick notes that the baby nurses about 11 times each 24-hour period. He is hopeful that the baby will be strong enough to survive, but cautions that the mortality rate for young Polar Bears is very high. In the wild, about 85% of Polar Bears do not survive past their second birthday.

Read the baby Polar Bear's birth announcement on ZooBorns.

Polar Bears are generally born in late fall or early winter. Moms and babies remain in the maternity den for several months, and don’t emerge until spring. Tonja makes occasional trips outdoors to drink fresh water, but she does not eat and returns to her cub after just a few minutes. She lives off the thick layer of fat she accumulated last spring and summer. Males are not involved in rearing their young.

Polar Bears face numerous threats in the wild, including climate change, which results in starvation due to habitat loss. Polar Bears hunt their prey – usually Seals – from platforms of floating sea ice. As ocean temperatures rise, sea ice has diminished, and Polar Bears must swim farther off shore to reach the remaining ice. The long swims deplete the Polar Bears’ caloric reserves, making it less likely that they will survive. They cannot hunt in open water.

Polar Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Sleepy Little Polar Bear Dreams of Christmas

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One can only wonder what the sleepy little bear is dreaming about…perhaps Santa or a white Christmas?

Although still blind, deaf and about the size of a guinea pig, the growing Polar Bear cub at Tierpark Berlin is now twelve-days-old.

The cub still spends most of the day snugly nestled in mother, Tonja's, warm fur. Tonja gave birth to her youngster on the afternoon of December 1.

According to keepers, the newborn’s appetite is healthy, too. "The young animal now drinks at a fairly regular rhythm of two hours," explains Eisbären- curator, Dr. Florian Sicks. "So far we are very satisfied with the development. As in the last few years, Tonja takes excellent care of her offspring.”

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Approximately 30 days after birth, eyes and auditory canals will open up for the young Polar Bear, as well. 

The new father, Volodya, moved to Zoo Berlin in the summer of 2018. In the wild, Polar Bears live as loners and the males are not involved in the rearing of juveniles.

Thanks to new camera technology, the experts at Tierpark Berlin are able to follow the events in the litter cave around the clock. The mortality rate of young Polar Bears is particularly high. In their natural habitat, about 85% of the bears do not reach an age older than two years.

Since absolute rest for mother and offspring is a decisive factor for the success of the rearing, no one will approach the nesting cave in the coming weeks. Also, the Polar Bears are currently not visible to visitors.


Tiny Polar Bear Cub Born at Zoo Sauvage

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On the morning of November 27, zoo keepers arrived at Zoo Sauvage and heard the strong cries of a newborn cub coming from the Polar Bear den. Female Aisaqvak had given birth to a cub.

No Polar Bear had raised a cub at Zoo Sauvage since 2009, and the Polar Bear care team worked diligently to bring about another pregnancy. In 2011, a new adult male named Yellé arrived, and the team had high hopes that he and Aisaqvak would produce a cub. But despite the fact that the two Bears showed great interest in each other over several years, Aisaqvak did not become pregnant. A new male named Eddy arrived from the Aquarium du Québec in 2015, but over two seasons, he and Aisaqvak did not produce a cub. The staff decided to bring back Yellé in 2017, and breeding success was finally achieved in 2018.

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2Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 11Photo Credit: Zoo Sauvage

Why did Aisaqvak and Yellé produce a cub this year and not in previous years? No one knows for certain, but the staff is overjoyed at the baby’s birth. The cub is significant because it introduces new genetic material into the zoo-dwelling population of Polar Bears. Aisaqvak was born in the wild, and Yellé has never reproduced before.

Newborn Polar Bears are very tiny in comparison to their mothers. Babies weigh just over one pound, while Aisaqvak weighs 727 pounds. The cub’s chances of survival are still precarious. However, the team sees hopeful signs that Aisaqvak is taking excellent care of her newborn. In addition, closed-circuit cameras allow the staff to watch every move as Aisaqvak and the baby bond in their private den. They two will remain in the den for several months, which is how mother and baby Polar Bears behave in the wild. Cubs begin walking at about three months of age. The baby’s gender will not be known for several months.

Wild Polar Bear populations are decreasing, as are populations within zoos. Polar Bears are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 2006, 364 Polar Bears resided in zoos worldwide. In 2015, only 298 Polar Bears lived in zoos. Wild Polar Bears face threats from warming seas and shrinking sea ice, which affect their ability to hunt and capture prey.


Polar Bear Cub Makes Long Awaited Debut

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Visitors to the Royal Zoological Society’s Highland Wildlife Park will now have the chance to see the first Polar Bear cub born in the UK in 25 years!

Born in December, the cub has taken its first steps into the park’s outdoor enclosure, which had previously been closed to the public to allow mum, Victoria, the privacy she needed.

Staff members at the park are advising visitors that the cub may only be visible for small periods of time to begin with. Una Richardson, head keeper, said, “Having spent four months in her maternity den, Victoria quickly took the chance to go outside. Understandably, her cub has been more cautious and is still getting used to new sights, smells and sounds.”

“While the cub will become more confident and start to explore the large enclosure with Victoria, this will take time and they will always have access to their den for peace and quiet. There is no guarantee all of our visitors will see the cub at this early age, but they may be lucky.”

“There is huge interest in the park and seeing a Polar Bear cub will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people, particularly those traveling from around the world.”

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Douglas Richardson, the park’s head of living collections, said, “Our pioneering captive Polar Bear management programme closely mirrors what happens in the wild and this birth shows our approach is working. This is vital because a healthy and robust captive population may one day be needed to augment numbers in the wild, such are the threats to the species from climate change and human pressures.”

“The reintroduction of Polar Bears would be an enormous task, but we need to have the option. While our cub will never be in the wild, there is a chance its offspring may be in decades to come.”

Chief Executive Barbara Smith added, “The birth of the first Polar Bear in the UK for a quarter of a century is a huge achievement for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the team at our Highland Wildlife Park. We are hopeful our cub will help to raise awareness of the dangers to Polar Bears in the wild. Collectively, we must do all we can to protect this magnificent species.”

Staff at the park expects to be able to discover the cub’s sex in April or May, when health checks will be possible.

The Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding landmasses.

The species is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Risks include: climate change, pollution in the form of toxic contaminants, conflicts with shipping, oil and gas exploration and development, and human-bear interactions including harvesting and possible stresses from recreational watching.

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Polar Bears Get Ready for Important Mother’s Day

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ZooBorns introduced readers to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's trio of Polar Bear cubs in our featured article posted on International Polar Bear Day: "A Trio of Polar Bears for 'International Polar Bear Day' ".

On November 8, first-time mom, Anana, gave birth to twins at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (unfortunately, one of the cubs passed away soon after). On November 16, Anana’s own twin sister, Aurora, also gave birth to twins!

Aurora and her twins recently made their much-anticipated public debut, and it was announced that the twins are male and female. Anana and her female cub also made their first public appearance!

The Zoo reports that the three cubs will not be on view together, as female Polar Bears typically raise their young independently.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds staff are naming the twins through one of the many employee initiatives raising funds for conservation.

However, Polar Bear fans can vote for the moniker of Anana’s female cub through a naming contest via the Zoo’s website: www.ColumbusZoo.org/NameTheCub

Just follow the link to their page and cast a vote for one of the pre-selected names before May 2. The names for all the cubs will be announced on Mother’s Day, May 14!

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4_Anana's polar-bear-cub-slide-29521c932bd2f67d7bdc2ff0000bf4b43Photo Credits: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (Images 1-4: Anana and her daughter / Images 5-8: Aurora and her male and female twins)

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Polar Bear Cubs Entertain Guests of Aalborg Zoo

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Visitors to Aalborg Zoo, in Denmark, have been enjoying the antics of two adorable Polar Bear sisters.

The female cubs were born November 26 to mom, Malik, and the trio emerged from their birthing den in late February.

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The Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear that is native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland).

Polar Bears generally have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight years. Due to delayed implantation, the gestation period can range from about 195 to 265 days. Pregnant Polar Bears den in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. The cubs grow quickly on their mother’s fat-rich milk before emerging from the den in the spring.

Polar Bears are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Their 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 population could disappear by the year 2050.

The Polar Bear is currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. At least three of the nineteen subpopulations are currently in decline.

More great pics below the fold!

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