PO­LAR BEAR MYS­TERY SOLVED

Wildlife: Health check re­veals Vic­to­ria’ s four-month-old po­lar cub is a boy

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE -

It was a 50/50 ques­tion to which we were all await­ing an an­swer.

And now, the Royal Zoo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety Scot­land has re­vealed that the first po­lar bear to be born in the UK for 25 years is a boy.

The next task will be to give him a name – pre­sum­ably a ti­tle that will re­flect his High­land roots and tie in well with mother Vic­to­ria’s name.

Staff at the char­ity’s High­land Wildlife Park dis­cov­ered the four-mon­thold cub is male dur­ing his first rou­tine health check yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Una Richardson, head keeper re­spon­si­ble for car­ni­vores at Kin­craig, said: “It was very ex­cit­ing to find out we have a lit­tle boy.

“Next we need to give him a name and our keep­ers are com­ing up with a suitable list which we will soon ask the pub­lic to choose from on so­cial me­dia. This will help us en­gage with as wide an au­di­ence as possible to raise aware­ness of the threats po­lar bears are fac­ing in the wild and the need to pro­tect this mag­nif­i­cent species.”

The cub was born in the week be­fore Christ­mas – al­though, un­til a few weeks ago, the birth had only been confirmed by high­pitched noises heard from the ma­ter­nity den.

But in early March, the cub’s first ven­ture into the out­side world was caught on cam­era.

The cub has been in­tro­duced to his large out­door en­clo­sure with mum Vic­to­ria and has al­ready taken his first swim.

“He is be­com­ing more con­fi­dent ev­ery day and is do­ing well. We were able to give him a quick health check, en­sur­ing he was back along­side Vic­to­ria very swiftly,” Ms Richardson said.

“While there is a lot of in­ter­est from the pub­lic, we are re­mind­ing vis­i­tors that he is still very young and is spend­ing a lot of time in his cub­bing den.”

The last po­lar bear cubs born in the UK were twins at Flamingo Land in York­shire in De­cem­ber 1992.

The cub’s par­ents are Vic­to­ria and Ark­tos.

Vic­to­ria pre­vi­ously gave birth at Aal­borg Zoo in Den­mark in 2008, hav­ing been born in 1996 at Ro­s­tock Zoo in Ger­many. She ar­rived at RZSS High­land Wildlife Park in March 2015.

Ark­tos ar­rived at the park in April 2012 from Hanover Zoo in Ger­many, hav­ing been born in 2008 at Vi­enna Zoo.

“He is be­com­ing more con­fi­dent ev­ery day and is do­ing well”

FUR BABY: The cub is now ven­tur­ing out af­ter spend­ing months in his den

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