• STV
  • MySTV

Tiny polar bear cub emerges from Scots den for first time

The adorable cub was the first born in the UK for 25 years at the Highland Wildlife Park.

The first polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years has finally emerged from its den at the Highland Wildlife Park.

The cub was born at the zoo near Kingussie during the week before Christmas but had not been seen until now.

Its emergence was recorded by cameras installed outside the den for an upcoming documentary about the park's polar bear breeding programme.

Head carnivore keeper Una Richardson discovered the cub while checking on its mother, Victoria.

"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," she said.

"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 living solely off the fat reserves she built up before she entered her den.

Proud parents: Polar bears Arktos and Victoria.
Proud parents: Polar bears Arktos and Victoria. Highland Wildlife Park

"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."

The park's polar bear enclosure is closed to the public for now and the cub - which has not been named - will remain out of sight until later this month.

Ms Richardson said its birth shows the park's breeding programme is a success.

"We are thrilled with the birth and rearing of a polar bear cub for the first time in the UK for a quarter of a century," she added.

"The birth goes a long way in confirming that our husbandry regime works, with polar bears managed in markedly different ways to many other zoos.

"This includes having very large, natural enclosures and keeping the sexes in separate parts of the park, which more closely mirrors what happens in the wild."

'Some may wonder whether there is any point in breeding polar bears in zoos and the question deserves a serious answer.'
Head carnivore keeper Una Richardson
Newborn: Cub with mother at Highland Wildlife Park.
Newborn: Cub with mother at Highland Wildlife Park. STV Productions

The Highland Wildlife Park's polar bears could be used to boost the wild population if the species was threatened with extinction in the future.

"Some may wonder whether there is any point in breeding polar bears in zoos and the question deserves a serious answer," Ms Richardson said.

"The change in the Arctic climate - the shortening of the ice season, coupled with more direct human pressures - is having a detrimental effect on the species that is likely to result in many of the wild sub-populations disappearing.

"If we do not develop and maintain a genetically and behaviourally robust captive polar bear population we will not have the option to use them to support what is likely to be a diminished and fragmented wild population in the future."

Britain's Polar Bear Cub, an STV Productions documentary, will air on Channel 4 on March 18.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on it's website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.