Polar Bear

Things Are Going Swimmingly for Polar Bear Cub

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Lili the Polar Bear cub was born December 11, 2015 at Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven, Germany. Mom, Valeska (age 11), father, Lloyd (age 15), and the whole Zoo have been very happy about this second healthy little bear in two years.

(Lili´s sister Lale was born on December 16, 2013 and lives now in the Wildlife Adventure Zoo in Emmen, Netherlands.)

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4_12901248_1018519488183504_79784850217026468_oPhoto Credits: Zoo am Meer Bremerhaven

 

 

The new cub and her mother have been on-exhibit for a little more than a month. In the mornings, Lili plays extensively with Mom, and the two recently began swim lessons.

Recently, Lili impressed Keepers with her sudden preference for water sports. Mama took a dive into the water, and Lili went automatically afterwards.

Lessons continued for several weeks, and in the late afternoon of May 10, Keepers excitedly reported: “Lili swims!”

Now the young bear joyfully falls into the water…and doesn’t want to get out! Another step in the development of the small female Polar Bear is done.

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.

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.

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Help Name Zoo Brno’s Polar Bear Cub

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It’s a girl! …The Polar Bear cub, born to mom Cora at Zoo Brno, had her first veterinarian exam, and staff confirmed the sex. The feisty female was born at the end of November 2015.

The cub is now almost five months old, and the Zoo is ready to give her a name. Fans can offer suggestions, until April 10, via the Zoo’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/zoo.brno/

The winning name will be announced, and the cub “Baptized”, on April 16!

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4_ZooBrnoPolarBearGirl_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Brno

 

Zoo Brno keepers had a watchful eye on the new family, after the cub’s birth, via a nesting box cam. Staff had also been working on getting Cora accustomed to necessary health checks, which would enable a successful inspection of the cub.

(ZooBorns shared news, photos, and video of the cub’s birth in early March: "Zoo Brno’s Polar Bear Cub Sticks Close to Mom".)

Continue reading "Help Name Zoo Brno’s Polar Bear Cub" »


A Polar Bear Cub's Favorite Things

12803096_10153473306087106_5047792844480017729_nWhat do a traffic cone, a swimming pool, and a boomer ball have in common?  They’re favorite toys of Nora, a playful Polar Bear cub at the Columbus Zoo.

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12792275_10153473306197106_2442624859636011837_oPhoto Credit:  Columbus Zoo

As reported by ZooBorns, Nora was ignored by her mother just days after her November 6 birth.  Raising a Polar Bear cub is no small task, but the zoo staff decided to hand-rear the tiny cub.  Weighing just 1.5 pounds when keepers took her in, Nora now weighs 29 pounds and has started eating meat in addition to her soft food diet. 

Nora’s care team reports that she loves to play with the above mentioned toys and has a very independent nature.   They are pleased with how she is developing so far.

Wild Polar Bears are under threat due to melting sea ice in their Arctic habitat and other threats.  Because Polar Bears use ice floes as platforms for hunting Seals, the disappearing ice forces Polar Bears to swim longer distances in search of food.  As the sea ice melts earlier in the spring, Polar Bears are forced to the mainland before they have built up sufficient food reserves to survive the fall, when food is scarce.   

About 20,000-30,000 Polar Bears remain in the Arctic.  They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Zoo Brno’s Polar Bear Cub Sticks Close to Mom

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Visitors to Zoo Brno will soon be able to catch a glimpse of their new Polar Bear cub.

The cub was born to mom Cora at the end of November 2015. Until now, the two have been safely tucked away in their nesting box. However, at three-months-old, the new cub is ready to start exploring the exhibit.

Keepers have had a watchful eye on the new family via a nesting box cam. Staff have also been working on getting the pair accustomed to necessary health checks. "First contact went well. Cora was a little nervous, but this is important to gradually get them used to human presence and allow veterinary inspection of the baby, "says keeper, Jaroslav Jasinek.

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3_ZooBrnoPolarBearCubAndMomCoraPhoto Credits: Eduard Stuchlik

 

 

Keepers currently do no know the sex of the new cub, but once they do, they will allow the public to assist in finding a name—thereby making the public, as a whole, the cub’s honorary ‘godparents’.

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.

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.


“Hello, My Name Is…”

Polar Bear Cub 9168 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The public has spoken! Following a worldwide online poll, the three-month-old Polar Bear cub born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium finally has a name…Nora!

The name was one of four options the Zoo put to a public vote between January 19 and February 3.

The name ‘Nora’, a combination of the cub’s parents’ names, Nanuq and Aurora, garnered the most votes followed by: ‘Kaya’, meaning “little but wise”; ‘Sakari’, meaning “sweet”; and ‘Desna’, meaning “boss”. The Columbus Zoo’s animal care staff had selected the four names, and participants were able to cast their vote online once every 24 hours.

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Polar Bear Cub 9246 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo

 

The cub has gathered a strong following on the Columbus Zoo’s social media pages, where fans have been able to watch videos of her growth. Voting participants spanned the globe, with 115 countries represented in the voting. The top five participating countries were the United States, France, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom for a grand total of 88,061 votes.

“We are thrilled and inspired that so many people around the world helped name this young Polar Bear,” said Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. “We hope that those who have been watching Nora grow will continue to do so throughout her life, and remember that we all have a role to play in protecting wild Polar Bears for generations to come.”

Continue reading "“Hello, My Name Is…”" »


Toronto Zoo’s Polar Bear Has Her ‘Eyes Wide Open’

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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.

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3_TorontoZooPolarCubTwoMonthsPhoto and Video Credits: Toronto Zoo

 

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.


Polar Bear Cub Gets Her Fur

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A Polar Bear cub born November 11 at the Toronto Zoo is steadily improving under the intensive care of her keepers. Her fuzzy fur is growing in, but her eyes haven't opened yet.

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12356666_933087376727708_5000349610449351729_oPhoto Credit:  Toronto Zoo

The female cub was one of two born to mom Aurora.  Both cubs were attempting to nurse shortly after birth, but one of the cubs died soon afterward.  The staff eventually determined that Aurora, who was exhibiting good maternal instincts, was not producing any milk for her babies.

The surviving cub was moved to an incubator and remains there today, though the incubator’s temperature is slowly being lowered to room temperature.  The cub is fed eight times a day.  After feeding, she enjoys 10-15 minutes of “play time,” where she squirms about.

The zoo staff is pleased that the cub is doing well, but they point out that the first three months are critical for Polar Bear cubs.  For now, the cub remains in the zoo’s medical center, where she is not viewable by zoo guests.

Native to Arctic waters and land masses, Polar Bears are supremely adapted to survive in cold temperatures.  They spend most of their time on sea ice, from which they hunt for seals in the frigid waters.  Polar Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Tighter hunting regulations have helped some populations to rebound after decades of declining numbers.  Many scientists believe that climate change has negatively impacted Polar Bears, causing a reduction in sea ice.  As sea ice melts earlier in the season, Polar Bears are forced to move to shore before sufficiently building up their fat reserves for the coming winter. 


UPDATE: Columbus Zoo Polar Bear Still Needs Helping Hand

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The Polar Bear cub, at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, is now one-month-old!

Two cubs were born November 6, at the Ohio zoo. (ZooBorns posted a November 23rd article sharing the story.) Animal Care staff first observed new mom, Aurora, caring for the newborns. However, despite her efforts, only one cub survived.

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4_12244571_10153301035967106_2713312182985211251_oPhoto Credits: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Initially, Aurora was caring for her surviving cub, and the Columbus Zoo animal team, in conjunction with recommendations from other Polar Bear breeding facilities, made the decision not to intervene. Polar Bear cubs are difficult to hand rear and disrupting Aurora’s maternal care was not advised.

Unfortunately, the surviving cub was pulled from the den by the Zoo’s Animal Care staff after Aurora stopped caring for it. Aurora began taking breaks from caring for her cub. When these breaks continued throughout the day and became longer, the Zoo’s Animal Care staff made the decision to remove the cub from the den and began to hand-rear the newborn.

A little over one month later, the cub is doing well. The hand rearing team stays with her 24 hours each day, and she is feeding every 3 hours. The cub is growing at a rapid pace, and as of last week, she was 14.25 inches from the end of her snout to the tip of her tail.

She continues to gain weight and keepers are anxiously waiting when her eyes will open, which should happen very soon. The Polar Bear cub care staff are taking 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.


Polar Bear Cub Gets Helping Hand at Columbus Zoo

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Two Polar Bear cubs were born November 6 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Animal Care staff observed new mom, Aurora, caring for the newborns. However, despite her efforts, only one cub survived. 

Initially, Aurora was caring for her surviving cub, and the Columbus Zoo animal team, in conjunction with recommendations from other Polar Bear breeding facilities, made the decision not to intervene. Polar Bear cubs are difficult to hand rear and disrupting Aurora’s maternal care was not advised.

Unfortunately, last week, the surviving cub was pulled from the den by the Zoo’s Animal Care staff after Aurora stopped caring for it. Aurora began taking breaks from caring for her cub late on the morning of November 19. When these breaks continued throughout the day and became longer, the Zoo’s Animal Care staff made the decision to remove the cub from the den and began to hand-rear the newborn.

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4_Polar Bear Cub 7411 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

  

At this time, the cub, a female, is healthy and feeding regularly. She weighed in at 1.5 pounds and gained 10 grams soon after Zoo Staff took over. At 2-weeks-old, she is continuing to gain weight, and grows about a half inch every two days. Her nose is turning black and fur is growing on her ears, as well as on the bottom of her paws. Staff will continue to monitor and care for her around-the-clock. The team assesses her daily and makes changes to her routine as need be. They are cautiously optimistic and are pleased with how well she is doing.

Polar Bear reproduction is a very complicated process, which leads to the species having one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal. Female 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. Delayed implantation is a point of time during a Polar Bear’s gestation when a fertilized egg will free-float in the uterus for roughly four months to ensure the cub is born the best time of year for survival.

Pregnant Polar Bears den in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. The cubs typically weigh about one pound at birth. After birth, the survival rate for a Polar Bear cub during the first few weeks of life is very low due to a number of factors. Some of these factors can be eliminated in a zoo setting though this is still a very delicate time for a newborn.

Polar Bears, much like Giant Pandas, are highly specialized animals that give birth to very small babies, which makes them fragile during their first year of life. Survival rates in human care are around 50%, which is similar to that of wild bears.

Continue reading "Polar Bear Cub Gets Helping Hand at Columbus Zoo" »


Quick Vet Visit for Zoo Am Meer's Little Polar Bear

Folie2How fast can a veterinary team perform a physical exam on a baby Polar Bear?  At Germany’s Zoo am Meer, it took only four minutes for the staff to examine, vaccinate, determine gender, and weigh a cub and return the baby to her anxious mother.

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Folie3Photo Credit:  Zoo Am Meer



The female cub was born on December 16 to first-time mom Valeska, age 9, and father Lloyd, age 13.  Since then, the cub has remained in the den with Valeska, who has proven to be an excellent mother to her cub. 

Zoo staff members describe the cub as playful and energetic.  At her exam, the cub weighed 18 pounds (8.5 kg), and has a lot of growing to do – adult female Polar Bears weigh 400-700 pounds (180-370 kg).  She’ll remain behind the scenes with Valeska until late in April or May.  At that time, she’ll learn how to swim and explore the outdoors.

Polar Bear populations are imperiled by climate change.  Polar Bears require sea ice as a place to stand while searching for passing seals to hunt.  Many Polar Bears are malnourished because their hunting season – which occurs in winter when the sea is filled with ice – becomes shorter every year, preventing them from building fat reserves to survive through the summer, when hunting is not possible.

See more photos of the cub below.

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