Monday, 15 January 2018

First polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years at Scottish park

Staff at Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland confirm the birth to mother Victoria but say the first three months of life for the new-born cub are perilous

Wed 3 Jan ‘18 10.31 GMTLast modified on Wed 3 Jan ‘18 22.00 GMT

The first polar bear cub to be born in Britain for 25 years is being cared for in a private den by its mother, Victoria, at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland.

Staff at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) park confirmed the birth after hearing distinct high-pitched sounds from Victoria’s maternity unit, which remains closed to visitors to ensure privacy.

The news of the birth comes 24 hours after a polar bear cub at a Berlin zoo died aged 26 days, and the RZSS admitted that the first three months would be perilous for the newborn polar bear.

Una Richardson, the park’s head keeper responsible for carnivores, said: “While we are absolutely thrilled, we are not celebrating prematurely as polar bear cubs have a high mortality rate in the first weeks of life due to their undeveloped immune system and the mother’s exaggerated need for privacy, with any disturbance risking the cub being killed or abandoned.”

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