The Toledo Zoo excitedly announced on January 28 that an adorable little polar bear cub was born on December 3 2015. 16-year-old mamma bear Crystal is taking care of the new arrival in an off-exhibit den. The Zoo’s animal care staff is carefully observing the cub’s progress through a monitor in the den. As in the wild, the pair will remain secluded there for the next few months as the cub grows to around 20-30 pounds. Due to the seclusion, the sex of the cub is unknown and a name has not yet been chosen.
“This is the fifth time polar bear cubs have been born at the Toledo Zoo, for a total of seven cubs since 2006. We are very excited about the successful birth and rearing of this cub. Crystal has always demonstrated great maternal care. The cub still has a lot of important milestones to achieve before going on exhibit, but we are cautiously optimistic that both mom and cub will continue to thrive,” said assistant director of animal programs, Dr. Randi Meyerson.
The last time the zoo welcomed baby polar bears was in 2012 when Crystal gave birth to a brother and sister pair, Suka and Sakari. Both of these pregnancies were fathered by the zoos resident male, Marty. The twins were sent to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota in the fall of 2014.
As with all breeding done by The Toledo Zoo, the new polar bear cub is part of a species survival plan founded by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and coordinated by Dr. Meyerson. Polar bears are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list as a vulnerable species and listed as a threatened species under the endangered species act because of the loss of arctic sea ice due to climate change. However, through this cooperative breeding and conservation program, zoos and aquariums across the nation work together to maintain a healthy population of these stunning arctic bears.