Polar bear born in Scotland’s wildlife park ‘weighs as much as a guinea pig’

The cub was born on December 14 and zookeepers are keeping a close eye on CCTV (Image: SWNS)

An adorable polar bear no bigger than a guinea pig has been born in Scotland.

The tiger cub was born on Tuesday and is the first to be born in the UK since its brother Hamish was born in 2017 – the first in 25 years.

Staffers first learned of the newcomer’s arrival when they heard distinctive high-pitched squeals coming from the polar bear enclosure at Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore.

Breeders have yet to physically examine the cubs because of the mother’s need for privacy and the cub’s weak immune system.

But the couple were caught on CCTV hugging each other in their cave.

Parents Victoria and Arktos were re-paired in February, amid hopes they would mate again after successfully conceiving Hamish in 2017.

However, because the first weeks of a polar bear’s life are so important, staff have yet to celebrate the arrival of the new bear.

Vickie Larkin, carnivore team leader at Highland Wildlife Park said: ‘This is a huge occasion, a testament to our team’s hard work.

CCTV footage of a newborn polar bear with its mother at Highland Wildlife Park (Image: Highland Wildlife Park)

‘While we are very excited about the new arrival, we are not yet celebrating because the first few weeks of a polar bear’s life are crucial, with potential immune system complications and unique needs. Mom’s privacy during this time is our top priority.’

Vickie said the polar bears are important to the zoo and are particularly good at capturing the attention of visitors.

“Their power to connect people with nature and encourage behavior change is invaluable,” she said.

‘We expect Victoria and Arktos to give birth to another cub when they are reintroduced for breeding season in February.

‘She is a very caring mother and we are pleased to say they are both doing well so far.

‘We won’t know if the baby is a boy or a girl until we can have a checkup in the spring and they will be named shortly after.

‘Polar bears are born blind and don’t open their eyes until they are a month old.

‘Currently, the youngster is about a foot long and weighs the same as a guinea pig.’

As part of a breeding program for the species, Hamish moved to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in November 2020.

The public is closed to give mother Victoria and her young son peace and quiet.

Dad Arktos and Walker, the park’s other male polar bear, can still be spotted in their enclosure.

Polar bears are the largest bears in the world and are native to the Artic, where they are top predators.

The majestic animals are World Wildlife Fund considers vulnerable, and are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change on their habitats.

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Huynh Nguyen

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