BREEDING

Scuba Diver Australasia - - Cristina Zenato -

• Po­lar bears nor­mally mate from

late March to May

• Ges­ta­tion is around eight months • Preg­nant po­lar bears will seek out ma­ter­nity dens, in Oc­to­ber or Novem­ber, in which to hi­ber­nate and then give birth to their cubs. Preg­nant po­lar bears need to build up fat re­serves to sur­vive the “den­ning pe­riod”

• Cubs are born from Novem­ber to Jan­uary while the moth­ers are hi­ber­nat­ing

• Sows can have up to four cubs at a time, though one or two is more com­mon

• Cubs weigh about two ki­los when they are born, and will nurse un­til they reach about 10 to 14 ki­los be­fore emerg­ing from the den in March or April

• Cubs will stay with their moth­ers

for a lit­tle over two years

• Fe­male po­lar bears can pro­duce

five lit­ters in their life­time

• Po­lar bears have one of the low­est

re­pro­duc­tive rates of any mam­mal

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