First Polar bear cub born in Britain in 25 years makes its debut

Mother filmed making a ramp from snow so youngster can leave den

Harriet Agerholm
Saturday 17 March 2018 00:43
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Britain's first polar bear cub for 25 years featured in new Channel 4 documentary

The first polar bear born in Britain for 25 years has emerged from its den.

Although it arrived the week before Christmas, the creature has only just made its debut in front of the wider world at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig.

Its mother, Victoria, made a ramp from snow so it can leave the shelter more easily.

The birth had previously only been confirmed by high-pitched noises coming from the den.

Britain’s Polar Bear Cub will be broadcast on Channel 4 and STV at 7pm on Sunday.

Polar bears are a vulnerable species, with as few as 22,000 left in the wild. Their population is decreasing and there is a high risk of future decline due to climate change.

Victoria with the cub, which was born a week before Christmas

Scientists monitoring the carnivores in the Arctic in February found they have far higher energy demands than previously thought. Underfed bears were losing 1 per cent of their body mass every day, they found.

Arctic sea ice is getting thinner every year, and there have been significant losses in the overall area covered by ice, according to the latest data.

As their hunting grounds melt away, their chances of catching the seals they need to sustain themselves diminish.

"It is a fascinating story about one of the world’s most totemic creatures which touches the heart but also brings into focus some of the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet," said Tom Porter, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4.

Barbara Smith, Chief Executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “The birth of the first polar bear in the UK for 25 years is a tremendous achievement and testament to the team at our Highland Wildlife Park, where we have developed a world-leading polar bear management programme.”

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