Polar bear cub unveiled to public at Toronto Zoo
Cub has achieved internet stardom in YouTube video series
The lone surviving polar bear cub at the Toronto Zoo made his public debut on Saturday.
The cub is only three months old, but it made waves on social media when it was featured in YouTube videos that went viral.
Video of the cub's first steps, first bath and first time romping around in snow garnered about six million hits online, but the animal had not been displayed in the flesh to the public until this weekend.
“You see the lineups? The popularity? It’s family day and everyone is here,” said Jeff Young, Toronto Zoo wildlife care supervisor.
The unveiling of the young cub is part of the zoo’s Polar Bear Month, which is geared towards saving polar bears and raising awareness through educational activities.
The cub, born Nov. 9, remains nameless. One of the activities the zoo asked the public to participate in is the name drive.
Fans can cast their vote for their favourite name on the zoo’s website. There are six names to choose from: Humphrey, Orson, James, Lorek, Searik or Stirling.
The new name will be announced in March.
Pandas also drawing a crowd
Though the polar bear cub was the main attraction on Saturday, the giant pandas are also drawing crowds. They created some YouTube hype of their own when they were also caught romping in the freshly fallen snow in their outdoor habitat.
The zoo is hoping for a pregnant panda in the spring and a baby panda by the summer.
“We’re hoping and we’re monitoring. We’ve got a reproductive physiologist on our staff and we’re monitoring the cycle,” said Dr. Bill Rapley, Executive Director of Conservation Education and Wildlife at the zoo.
Zoo staff are warning visitors of the polar bear cub to be patient as he is still a baby and does get tuckered out now and again.
With files from CBC's Natalie Kalata