Previously, the birth had only been confirmed by high-pitched noises heard from the maternity den and the cub was born in the week before Christmas after its mother Victoria mated with Arktos, one of two male polar bears at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig. And now in 25 years, a cub has come out of its den!
Victoria's enclosure has been closed to the public as of now, however, it is expected to be reopened to park visitors later this month. The first image of the cub emerged from footage by a channel for a documentary that they were making. Una Richardson, head keeper responsible for carnivores, said, "Victoria had started to come outside by herself for short periods to eat, drink and roll around in the snow, so we knew her cub would soon follow her but we couldn't be sure when. I was visiting Victoria on Sunday morning to check she had fresh water and to continue slowly reintroducing food to her diet, after four months during which she lived solely off the fat reserves she built up before she entered her den."
"Suddenly I saw a small, fluffy bundle next to her and had to pinch myself to check I wasn't seeing things. It was a very special experience and one I'll never forget. We also have motion-sensitive cameras safely positioned near Victoria's den and we were delighted to see we had captured her cub's first few steps outside. Having only been able to hear sounds from inside the den before, we can now be certain Victoria has had one cub rather than two and we couldn't be happier as this is the moment we have been working towards and really looking forward to," added Una.
"Both mum and cub appear to be doing well, though this is still a sensitive time and they need as much peace and quiet as possible. Our keeper activity at their enclosure will remain at a minimum for the next couple of weeks, after which visitors will be able to see Victoria and our wonderful new arrival. In the coming weeks we'll also be able to find out if we have a little boy or girl and then we'll decide on a name," concluded Una.