Yesterday, as the hatch of the polar bear -den was opened at noon the new polar bear cub at Ranua Wildlife Park got its first chance to experience the outside world. The cub, naturally, was totally amazed of its first contact with the outside world having spent close to four months inside the den in the safety and nurturing of its dam – even though, this very same morning, the animal attendant gave it some snow into the den to have the first sensing of something new to come.

 

The polar bear family has its choice to either spend time out in the fencing, or, so willing, in the safety of its den, during the coming weeks. As the cub grows, the dam will allow its offspring to spend ever more time outside and go ever further away from the hatch of the den.

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The second polar bear cub ever to be born in Finland is a great Christmas gift to the people at the Ranua Wildlife Park and to the soon to be 100 year Ranua Commune.

 

The succesful procreation of polar bears kept in captivity is extremely rare – the first 24 hours are the most critical; a third of the newborn cubs die during this period. Half of the cubs die before they reach the age of five days and nights, and within a month only 40 % of the remaining cubs are alive. In the earlier times the greatest reason for the poor success of the polar bear procreation in wildlife parks has most probably been due to the dam being disturbed by outside disturbances, causing the dam eventually to abondon its cubs, or even killing them. At the Ranua Wildlife Park we considered it extremely important to keep the surroundings of the expecting dam extremely peaceful, and therefore we isolated the nesting area well before the expected birth of the cubs. We monitored the dam during her pregnancy through recording surveillance cameras as well as through microfones, and continue doing so while monitoring the developement of the cub. While looking and studying the surveillance tapes, we keep an eye on the well-being of the cubs as well as learn important facts about the behaviour and the developement of the cub.

 

The polar bear Venus at the Ranua Wildlife Park gave birth to two cubs on November 25, 2016. In spite of the good care of the dam, one of the cubs died at the age of ten days. For a couple of days Venus nurtured both the living and the dead cub, eventually eating the dead one. This beahiour in the nature makes sense, for the dam gets well-needed nutrition while eating the dead cub; it still has to survive in its den for a long period, also the disposal of the dead body is good for hygienic reasons in the den.

 

The cub remainig alive weighed one kg at its birth, and it has gained weight during the past week up to 2 -3 kg. At the age of a few months the polar bear cub is expected to weigh about 10 kg, and at that point, in February-March, the cub gets to taste fresh otside air the first time with its dam. We will inform the public in advance of the event.

 

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