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13/03/2018 in Highland Wildlife Park
Above: Head Keeper Una Richardson talks about her experience of seeing the cub for the first time.
It has been just over a week since Victoria and her cub emerged from the den and already in that time we have noticed that it has grown. The cub current weight is around 11.5 kilos at 82 days old. We are seeing the cub almost every day now as he/she follows Victoria into the holding pen to feed. Although the cub is still feeding on Victoria’s milk, we have seen it picking up carrots and apples in its mouth and chewing on meat, even standing up on its back legs drinking water from the drinker.
The cub was playing with a whole cabbage earlier today!
It has been amazing to witness these early days following their emergence from the den. Victoria is very calm around her cub, which sticks close to mum, often staying under her body and moving between her legs as she moves. We have also observed the cub rolling on its back in the snow and playing with Victoria by batting at her legs. We are no longer hearing the crying sound that was audible from inside the den, however the cub is still quite vocal, making grumbling noises as it moves around. It was a thrill to observe the cub suckling this week, they make a fantastic contented sound, a bit like a car starting!
The cub is already moving around confidently and is strong and steady on its feet. He/ she has been investigating the outdoor environment and we have put out items such as small logs to climb on, which will aid muscle development. A small bath of water has also been introduced as a prelude to the pool in the main enclosure.
Watch the trailer for the Channel 4 documentary 'Britain's Polar Bear Cub' below. Please note that some of the footage featured is from other polar bear cubs previously born in other collections - you can get a glimpse of our cub emerging at the very end of the trailer!
We do not know whether the cub is male or female yet but we hope to find out in the coming weeks. We do not have a preference and have excitedly been thinking of possible names for either sex. We can’t wait to see the documentary air on Channel 4 this Sunday, which will allow the audience a behind the scenes look at our journey leading up to the birth of the cub. We have been working with Alex Tate and his film crew for 2 years now on this project so its fantastic to see it come to life. It was difficult filming it at times, especially during the uncertainty but now we know it has a happy ending, we look forward to sharing our precious cub with the world.
Don't miss 'Britain's Polar Bear Cub', which airs on Sunday 18 March on Channel 4 at 7pm.
Also be sure to follow our social media channels as we'll be posting content as the documentary airs.
Please remember that mother and cub are not currently visible to the public but we will share updates on our website and social media channels as soon as they are.
Una and Vickie
RZSS Highland Wildlife Park Carnivore Keepers
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