The UK’s youngest polar bear cub, born in December at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park, has been named and new footage shows him taking his first steps outside.
Chosen by the winner of the recent prize draw ran by the wildlife conservation charity to raise funds for Scotland’s Wildlife Discovery Centre, the cub’s name will be Brodie, a Scottish word meaning second son.
Public viewing for Brodie and mum Victoria will now open from Monday 28 March but staff at the park are advising visitors the cub may only be visible for small periods of time to begin with.
Vickie Larkin, carnivore team leader at Highland Wildlife Park said, “We are so excited for visitors to finally see little Brodie and want to remind everyone they must book their tickets in advance.
“He is doing very well and is growing more confident every day. It is important to be aware Brodie may only be visible for short spurts to begin with as he starts to explore his enclosure and grow stronger on his feet. After a lap of his enclosure, our wee cub enjoys a good snooze in the den with mum.
“Like the other polar bears here at the park, Brodie will act as an ambassador for his cousins in the wild. Seeing cubs like this up close is a great way to connect with nature and raise awareness of the plight the species faces in the wild.”
The prize draw, which ran for two weeks, raised over £70,000 to help the charity build Scotland’s Wildlife Discovery Centre at the park. The lucky winner, Brian, chose the cub’s name from a keeper shortlist.
Brian Whitehead, the winner, said, “This is without doubt one of the best things that has ever happened for us and will definitely be a life changing experience. I went with Brodie in the end because of it meaning second son, the family name Brodie has close ties in the area historically, it is very Scottish.
“We can barely contain our joy because we had our first visit to the park last week, and it far exceeded our expectations. The next visit is going to be even more awesome since we will get to come back again for the ultimate experience to meet little Brodie. We still can’t quite believe it.”
Vickie continued, “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who entered our once-in-a-lifetime prize draw to help bring Scotland’s Wildlife Discovery Centre to life, and in turn, will allow our charity to connect even more people with nature and enable visitors and communities to protect endangered animals.”
Visitors must book in advance due to limited numbers. To book tickets, visit highlandwildlifepark.org.uk/tickets.