On Thursday December 3, a long-awaited cry was heard from the den at Orsa Rovdjurspark – a polar bear had been born.
The birth of a cub is a great success for both Orsa Rovdjurspark and the polar bear as a species, says the Zoo manager Pernilla Thalin. For many years, we have dedicated enormous resources and commitment in an attempt to increase our polar bear population here at the park.
The female polar bear Ewa has spent much of her time resting in the den recently. She has remained there night and day and has been seen bedding in the straw.
We realised straight away that something exciting and wonderful had happened when we heard the cry, continues Pernilla. We have been watching Ewa via a camera in the den, monitoring developments together on a minute-by-minute basis.
Right now, we have been a bit nervous to say the least as we have watched footage of Ewa, who weighs around 320 kilograms, carefully tending to her young cub who weighs about half a kilogram. It certainly is an extraordinary experience.
However, Pernilla is very cautious regarding the recent birth:
We are keenly aware of the risks faced by this new arrival. It is extremely rare for polar bears in zoo´s to give birth, and many cubs do not survive the initial critical period. Only around half of all new-born polar bear cubs make it through the first couple of weeks.
Ewa has demonstrated good parenting and caring skills during the first week, and the keepers have heard and seen a cub suckling, sleeping and crying loudly next to its mother.
It is essential that Ewa gets as much peace and quiet as possible, so we are not entering the den. We are currently monitoring her closely via a camera that captures movement and sound.
Polar bears face a number of threats in the wild. The main threat is deemed to be melting sea ice, which makes it hard for them to hunt and find food. The polar bears at Orsa Rovdjurspark are part of a vitally important conservation project managed by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
By holding polar bears, the park has a unique opportunity to educate, inform and hopefully inspire the public to learn more about the species and the threats it faces.
About the polar bears at Orsa Rovdjurspark
Since 2009, Orsa Rovdjurspark has been home to Ewa and Wilbär, who arrived at the park from Ouwehands Zoo in the Netherlands and Stuttgart Zoo in Germany. Another female, Hope, came here in 2018 from Antibes Zoo in France.
About polar bear births at other wildlife parks
The European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) includes 153 polar bears at 59 zoo´s. Worldwide, there are 282 polar bears at zoo´s. Twenty-four cubs were born within the EEP in 2019, and 13 of these survived.
Orsa Rovdjurspark is part of Grönklittsgruppen AB. The park opened in 1986, and is now home to Scandinavian brown bears, lynx, wolves, wolverines, Eurasian eagle owls, snow leopards, Persian leopards, Amur tigers, polar bears and Kodiak bear.
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