Assiniboine Park zoo gets new polar bear cub
Year-old female who weighs about 100 pounds unable to survive winter without mother, zoo says
Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo has welcomed another orphaned polar bear cub.
The year-old female, who weights about 100 pounds, arrived Tuesday evening and is currently being housed at the zoo's Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.
She was brought to the city from the Churchill, Man., area after being observed to be without her mother for some time. The cub was wandering near the northern town.
"Cubs of this age need to stay with their mothers for at least one winter or freeze-up of the western Hudson Bay to learn how to hunt and to have her protection from other bears," stated a news release from the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.
"Wildlife experts agree cubs this young are not able to survive on their own."
Members of the conservancy's Polar Bear Rescue Team and zoo officials travelled to Churchill to supervise the cub's trip to Winnipeg.
"This is a very unfortunate situation as it appeared we would make it through the 2016 polar bear season without a bear needing our help. Luckily we have an excellent facility and a team of professionals in Churchill and at Assiniboine Park Zoo that are equipped to deal with situations like this," said Dr. Chris Enright, the zoo's head of veterinary services.
"We are happy to report that the cub is in good health and is doing well in her new surroundings."
The cub will undergo a standard 30-day quarantine period and will not be visible to the general public during that time. A date when the bear will be introduced to the public will be announced later.
Eventually, the cub will be moved to the zoo's 10-acre Journey to Churchill exhibit, which is home to seven other polar bears — Storm, Aurora, Kaska, Blizzard, Star, York and Eli — as well as other Arctic species in separate enclosures.
"Although it is always our preference that polar bears stay in the wild, we are happy that this cub has a second chance here at Assiniboine Park Zoo," stated a news release.
The cub's move to Journey to Churchill won't happen for quite some time, zoo officials said. She needs time to adjust to her new surroundings and grow before she can be introduced to the older bears.
Note: The green ink on the bear's face is from a tattoo placed on her inner lip, according to the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. It was done by Manitoba Sustainable Development to identify the bear as coming from Manitoba.