First UK Polar Bear Cub in 25 Years – At Scottish Zoo!

For the first time in 25 years, a polar bear had given birth in the UK

 

Highland Wildlife Park‘s resident polar bear, Victoria, has given birth at the Kincraig park, near Kingussie.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) made the announcement this morning, and described the birth as an “outstanding achievement which will have interest across the world.”

The first few months are critical for newborn polar bears, so staff and visitors will not be able to see Victoria and her offspring until they emerge from their den around March.

 

One cub or more?

 

Without cameras in the den, the staff can’t officially confirm if Victoria has had one cub or more, but RZSS has released the audio so you can judge for yourself. Listen below – can you hear more than one cub?

 

 

Global Significance

 

Douglas Richardson, Head of Living Collections at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said, “The arrival of a polar bear cub is a tremendous husbandry accomplishment for our team.

“When Victoria arrived here in 2015 it was another tangible step in RZSS developing a new method of captive polar bear management, by providing a naturalistic habitat in a climate that is not so different from the one they have evolved to cope with.

“This success has been based on a radically different approach to their care and husbandry to mirror what would happen in the wild.”

RZSS Chief Executive, Barbara Smith continued, “The birth of the first polar bear cub in the UK for a quarter of a century is an outstanding achievement which will arouse interest around the world. It is testament to the commitment and professionalism of our team and hugely exciting.

“At RZSS we believe we have a duty to help protect this magnificent species, with the reduction in sea ice, the polar bear’s primary seal hunting platform, predicted to significantly reduce numbers over the next 40 years.

“Our polar bears are part of the European Endangered Species Programme and we hope Victoria’s offspring will survive to reinforce the captive population, which may be needed in the future to augment and help restore a markedly reduced and fragmented wild population.”

 

Find out more about Scotland’s only polar bears here