(LONDON) — After much anticipation and under the watchful eyes of its mother, a British TV crew captured the first steps of a new polar bear cub at the Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland.
The tiny white cub slowly emerged from its den and showed its face to the world. Its birth marks the first time a polar bear has been born in the U.K. in 25 years.
“Having spent four months in her maternity den, Victoria quickly took the chance to go outside. Understandably, her cub has been more cautious and is still getting used to new sights, smells and sounds,” said Una Richardson, the head zoo keeper, in a statement on the zoo’s website.
She added, “While the cub will become more confident and start to explore the large enclosure with Victoria, this will take time and they will always have access to their den for peace and quiet.”
The Highland Wildlife Park has tweeted out the love story between the cub’s parents, Arktos and Victoria. Arktos had never mated before but “Victoria showed him the ropes,” apparently.
When Victoria was pregnant, the zoo built a den just the right size for the mama and her newborn.
Zookeepers don’t know yet if the cub is female or male, but expect to discover the cub’s gender in April or May, when health checks will be possible.
The cub will feed on Victoria’s milk for the next three years and with 35 percent fat, cubs typically grow very quickly.
This week, the cub turned 3 months old and the enclosure is now open to the public.
“There is no guarantee all of our visitors will see the cub at this early age but they may be lucky,” explained Richardson. “There is huge interest in the park and seeing a polar bear cub will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people, particularly those traveling from around the world.”
See more on the Highland Wildlife Park’s Twitter account.
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