March 7 (UPI) — The first polar bear cub born in the U.K. in 25 years has taken his first steps in the outside world alongside his mother at Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park.
The emergence confirms the cub’s birth after high-pitched noises were heard coming from the maternity den. The cub was born in the week before Christmas when his mother Victoria mated with one of two male polar bears at the location, Arktos.
Victoria and her cub won’t be visible to park visitors until late March as the mother needs privacy. The cub’s apperance was captured by cameras placed outside Victoria’s den that are gathering footage for an upcoming Channel 4 documentary titled Britain’s Polar Bear Cub. The project is set to premiere on March 18.
Highland Wildlife Park shared one of the images taken of the cub on Twitter. The cub is seen with clean white fur as it stands in front of the towering Victoria.
“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,” said head keeper responsible for carnivores Una Richardson. “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.”
Conservation charity Polar Bears International congratulated Highland Wildlife Park for the cub’s birth noting that its arrival will help with conservation efforts.
“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,” the organization said.