TORONTO, Feb. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - After a precarious start to life, the
Toronto Zoo today introduced a very special member of the Zoo's
wildlife family, the now 3 ½ month old male polar bear cub. This
energetic young cub represents a heartwarming journey of survival, one
where expert Toronto Zoo Wildlife Health staff worked around the clock
to save a vulnerable species. The cub has successfully surpassed many
milestones in his young life and is a great ambassador for a species in
need of public education and support.
"This has been an interesting and challenging case for the Zoo and a
valiant and dedicated team effort of both the Wildlife Health Centre
and Wildlife Care staff," said John Tracogna, the Zoo's Chief Executive
Officer. "Ultimately, it has been a rewarding journey for everyone
involved, and we are happy to introduce an active and healthy polar
bear cub, our new Arctic ambassador to help share our conservation
message with our visitors."
On October 11, 2011, Aurora, one of the Zoo's two 10-year old female
polar bears, gave birth to three cubs. Tragically, the new mother
rejected the cubs shortly after birth. Zoo staff quickly intervened,
and rescued the two surviving cubs. Less than 24 hours later, one cub
did succumb to injuries sustained.
Polar bears are born in a very immature state and are documented as
being very difficult to hand raise from the moment of birth. The
newborn cub weighing only 700 grams was immediately placed into an
incubator in the Intensive Care Unit of the Zoo's Wildlife Health
Centre, and monitoring '24/7' commenced. At birth, polar bears have a
pink nose, eyelids, and feet, and their eyes and ears are tightly
For the past 3 ½ months, Zoo staff has focused on care of the cub,
tending to his every need. There are few documented cases of humans
rearing a cub from such an early age. Veterinary staff monitored his
health closely to ensure he was receiving all of the necessary
requirements to survive and grow strong. He was fed an artificial polar
bear milk formula with an infant bottle, which he accepted very
readily. While early on the cub did experience some close calls, he
has achieved, right from the start, a strong and consistent growth
weight, and now weighs approximately 17kg. Some of the major
milestones that were reached since birth are:
At two weeks, the cub's skin color began to change and his pink nose and
feet gradually changed to black.
At about 30 days, his eyes and ears opened, and he begun responding to
his environment and the people that cared for him.
At about 40 days, the cub began to teethe, and to the delight of his
care givers, very quickly showed his ability to use them!
At about 90 days, his walking improved with lots of exercise to
strengthen his hind legs. This increased mobility and independence
allowed for his move from the Wildlife Health Centre to the polar bear
house on January 26.
The cub can be seen in his new outdoor den in the Zoo's polar bear
exhibit, generously supported by Symcor. "As part of our ongoing
partnership, Symcor's Integrated Statement Services group is pleased to
support the polar bear research and conservation initiatives at the
Zoo," says Michael Corbett, Director, Operations, Integrated Statement
Services at Symcor. "It also helps us to instill a culture of
environmental awareness and engagement among employees which is an
important aspect in solving the environmental challenges that face us
today and in the future."
Name the polar bear cub! Presented by Coca Cola
The male cub also needs a suitable name. Starting today and over the
next six weeks, names can be submitted to the Zoo's facebook page - facebook.com/TheTorontoZoo and on the Zoo's website at torontozoo.com . Voting on a short-list will start mid-March and the selected name
will be announced on March 31, 2012.
The Toronto Zoo is a champion for Canada's majestic polar bears listed
as a critically endangered species. The Zoo works closely with other
Zoological associations and conservation institutions, including a
close partnership with Polar Bears International (PBI). Zoo biologists
and researchers work closely with their Wildlife biologist counterparts
in the field with valuable learning and studies that can be applied to
polar bear conservation in the wild.
For photos and b-roll of the polar bear cub, contact Katie Gray at
About Toronto Zoo:
The Toronto Zoo is Canada's premier zoo and a leader in animal
preservation and environmental protection. More than a tourist
attraction, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for
helping wildlife and their natural habitats - from species
reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational
centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except
December 25 and attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors each year.
Follow the Toronto Zoo on Facebook: facebook.com/TheTorontoZoo
Image with caption: "Healthy Polar Bear Cub Makes Debut at Toronto Zoo. (CNW Group/Toronto Zoo)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120203_C9132_PHOTO_EN_9606.jpg
SOURCE Toronto Zoo
For further information:
Contact: Katie Gray
Supervisor, Public Relations