Erster Eisbärnachwuchs seit 25 Jahren - Victoria ist Mama geworden 03.01.2018 / HP vom HWP
ZitatFirst polar bear born in UK for 25 years
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) can announce that its resident female polar bear Victoria has given birth at the Highland Wildlife Park. It is the first time a polar bear cub has been born in the UK for 25 years.
Describing the birth as an “outstanding achievement which will have interest across the world”, the charity stressed that the first three months are perilous for polar bear cubs, whether wild or captive born.
Staff at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, at Kincraig near Kinguissie, confirmed the birth having heard distinct high-pitched sounds from Victoria’s maternity den, which remains closed to visitors to ensure privacy.
Una Richardson, the park’s Head Keeper responsible for carnivores, said, “We first heard promising noises in the week before Christmas and these have now continued into the new year. Because we don’t have sight inside her cubbing box we can’t be sure if Victoria has had more than one cub but we can confirm the birth.
“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.
“We will continue to monitor Victoria and very much hope for the best possible news when she emerges around March. Until then, Victoria’s enclosure will be closed to the public and keeper activity will be at a minimum to give her offspring every chance of survival.”
New-born polar bear cubs are blind, around 30cm long and weigh little more than a guinea pig. They only open their eyes when they are a month old and are entirely dependent on their mother, feeding on fat-rich milk to grow quickly, weighing around ten to 12 kg by the time they leave their den.
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.”
The polar bear breeding season began in March last year, during which Victoria mated with Arktos, one of the park’s two males. Arktos and Walker, the park’s other male polar bear, are hugely popular with visitors and the enclosure they share remains on view.
Barbara Smith, RZSS Chief Executive, said, “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.”
Highland Wildlife Park Blog - Zoo keeping from a distance 25/01/2018 in Highland Wildlife Park
ZitatRZSS Highland Wildlife Park Senior Carnivore Keeper Vickie recalls hearing the cub for the first time.
It was such a thrill to announce that our polar bear Victoria had given birth in December.
The first few weeks and months are always a sensitive time but we have now passed the 30-day mark which is really encouraging and with each passing day we are more hopeful of the best possible news when Victoria emerges from her maternity den.
When polar bear cubs are born they are very small and helpless, weighing only around 500g. They go through a rapid growth phase, however, and weigh around 2kg at one month old. Their eyes should also open for the first time when they reach 30 days.
Victoria needs peace and quiet at the moment to ensure she looks after her cub as well as she can, so we intrude as little as possible. Only one member of our keeping staff whom Victoria is familiar with can visit her area each day to check her water (which can freeze during our harsh winter weather) and change the batteries on a Dictaphone we use to record her cub’s vocalisations.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to hear the cub ourselves, though much of their time at this age is spent sleeping!
We are frequently asked questions such as “How many cubs do we think she has?” and “What sex are they?”
By monitoring our Dictaphone recordings and the sounds we have heard, we can only distinguish one cub so we are assuming she hasn’t had more. If she has had only one cub we will be absolutely delighted – we just want them to be healthy.
New Polar Bear Cub Audio
Cubs can emerge from their dens at around three months of age and it will be at some point after this that we'll know the gender. We also try to let our animals rear their young with as little interference as possible.
The heavy snow we have had is perfect weather for Victoria to rear a cub as at this age young cubs cannot thermo-regulate and so can get chilled if the mother is not suitably attentive. Whilst this cold weather might be great for the bears, it can make it challenging for us keepers!
For instance, her enclosure is on the far side of the park and deep snow can make access a challenge, though we have been able to have some fun by providing our two male polar bears, Walker and the dad Arktos, with some ‘snowman enrichment’ which they loved.
Some wintery enrichment for the two maie polar bears, Arktos and Walker
Although we have passed the first month stage, this remains an anxious time for us, as polar bear cubs can have a high mortality rate both in captivity and in the wild. But we certainly can’t help getting a rush of excitement every time we hear the cub’s noise and we get a day closer to finally meeting our special arrival.
We’ll share further updates with you as soon as we can over the coming weeks.
ZitatVeröffentlicht am 10.02.2018 / FB-Seite vom Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig
Polar bear cub update:
Thank you to everyone who has been asking after Victoria and her offspring. We would also like to remind anyone planning to visit the Park in the coming weeks that while our male polar bears Arktos and Walker are visible, Victoria and her young are still in the cubbing den and they are off view to the public at the moment to ensure they have peace and quiet.
Our keepers are (safely and quietly!) going up to the enclosure daily and are regularly hearing little polar bear cub calls, so we believe everything is still going well. We will update you as soon as we have more news.
Check out our recent blog with the polar bear keepers:
Polar bear cub emerges at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park 07/03/2018 - Highland Wildlife Park
The first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years has emerged at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park.
Previously, the birth had only been confirmed by high-pitched noises heard from the maternity den. Now the cub’s first venture into the outside world has been caught on cameras installed by STV Productions during a two-year exclusive project to document the breeding and birth of the cub.
The cameras have been positioned outside the female polar bear’s den since early February, giving unprecedented access for a forthcoming documentary, made for Channel 4 by STV Productions, about the park’s pioneering polar bear breeding programme.
The cub was born in the week before Christmas, with mum Victoria having mated with Arktos, one of two male polar bears at the park, at Kincraig near Kingussie.
Victoria and her cub’s enclosure will remain closed to the public until late March to ensure privacy. Arktos can still be viewed in the enclosure he shares with Walker, the park’s other male.
Una Richardson, head keeper responsible for carnivores, said, “Victoria had started to come outside by herself for short periods to eat, drink and roll around in the snow, so we knew her cub would soon follow her but we couldn’t be sure when.
“I was visiting Victoria on Sunday morning to check she had fresh water and to continue slowly reintroducing food to her diet, after four months during which she lived solely off the fat reserves she built up before she entered her den.
“Suddenly I saw a small, fluffy bundle next to her and had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t seeing things. It was a very special experience and one I’ll never forget. We also have motion-sensitive cameras safely positioned near Victoria’s den and we were delighted to see we had captured her cub’s first few steps outside.
“Having only been able to hear sounds from inside the den before, we can now be certain Victoria has had one cub rather than two and we couldn’t be happier as this is the moment we have been working towards and really looking forward to.
“Both mum and cub appear to be doing well, though this is still a sensitive time and they need as much peace and quiet as possible. Our keeper activity at their enclosure will remain at a minimum for the next couple of weeks, after which visitors will be able to see Victoria and our wonderful new arrival.
“In the coming weeks we’ll also be able to find out if we have a little boy or girl and then we’ll decide on a name.”
Born blind and weighing little more than a guinea pig, the cub is now able to see and is the size of a Scottish terrier, having fed exclusively on Victoria’s fat-rich milk over the past 12 weeks.
Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at the park, said, “We are thrilled with the birth and rearing of a polar bear cub for the first time in the UK for a quarter of a century.
“The birth goes a long way to confirming that our husbandry regime works, with polar bears managed in markedly different ways to many other zoos. This includes having very large, natural enclosures and keeping the sexes in separate parts of the park, which more closely mirrors what happens in the wild.
“Some may wonder whether there is any point in breeding polar bears in zoos and the question deserves a serious answer. The change in the Arctic climate, specifically the shortening of the ice season, coupled with more direct human pressures, is having a noticeably detrimental effect on the species that is likely to result in many of the wild sub-populations disappearing.
“If we do not develop and maintain a genetically and behaviourally robust captive polar bear population, we will not have the option, should we require it, to use them to support what is likely to be a diminished and fragmented wild population in the future.”
The cub’s arrival has been welcomed by polar bear conservation charity Polar Bears International, whose executive director Krista Wright said, “We would like to congratulate Highland Wildlife Park on the successful birth of their polar bear cub.
“With polar bears facing grave threats from sea ice loss in a warming climate, it is important for facilities like Highland Wildlife Park to help educate visitors and involve them in solutions. This cub will serve as an ambassador for its wild cousins, inspiring people to care.”
Britain’s Polar Bear Cub - the unique documentary filmed by STV Productions over two years and culminating in the birth of Victoria’s cub - will be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday 18 March at 7pm.
With unprecedented access, this one-off special goes behind the scenes at the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland to follow the extraordinary efforts that culminated in the birth of Britain's first polar bear cub for 25 years. Keepers at the park mate Arktos with Victoria in the hope that she'll have her very own cub. The cameras reveal the highs and lows of the keepers' attempts to breed one of the world's most iconic, endangered animals.
Quelle: FB-Seite vom Highland Wildlife Park
Und auch auf der FB-Seite gibt es ein kleines Video
ZitatVeröffentlicht am 18.03.2018 / FB-Seite vom Highland Wildlife Park
The moment you've all been waiting for, here's the cub first emerging from the den under Victoria's watchful eye! #BritainsPolarBearCub
Please note that Victoria and her cub are still not visible to the public, but keep an eye on our social channels where we'll be announcing when you can pay this beautiful new arrival a visit. In the meantime, check out our keepers latest update on the cub here:
ZitatVeröffentlicht am 20.03.2018 / FB-Seite vom Highland Wildlife Park
Check out this adorable footage of Victoria and her cub as they begin exploring their large outdoor enclosure! From Wednesday 21 March the enclosure will be open to the public and visitors may get a chance to see the cub for the first time. Please be aware that mother and cub are still spending a lot of time in and around the den and only spending short spells in their outdoor enclosure.
We are expecting the Park to be busy during upcoming weekends, and over the Easter holidays, and entry is limited. We would advise visitors to take advantage of our online discount and book in advance.
ZitatVeröffentlicht am 26.03.2018 / FB-Seite vom Highland Wildlife Park
The young cub is having great fun investigating some of the new features outside of the den. Keepers recently placed this paddling pool near the den to help the new arrival get familiar and more confident with water, preparing the cub for venturing near the main pool in the outdoor enclosure.
Victoria and her cub are still spending a lot of time in and around the den with short spells in their outdoor enclosure. Please be aware there is no guarantee that they will be visible all of the time, although they do have continuous access to the main enclosure.