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Baby polar bear makes public debut at Munich Zoo

A cute polar bear cub at the Munich Zoo has taken her first steps outdoors. The zoo hopes the cub will attract greater attention to the endangered species.

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Baby polar bear's first outdoor trip

Mother Giovanna ventured out of the polar bear den with her baby cub for the first time on Friday, giving the 14-week-old cub a chance to explore the outdoor tundra enclosure at Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo.

The fluffy white female cub cautiously entered a new world outside the mother-baby den, playing with grass, stones and water for the first time in front of visitors.

Deutschland Eisbären Mädchen im Tierpark Hellabrunn in München (picture-alliance/Sven Simon)

In early February, the baby polar bear weighed only 8.4 kilograms (19 pounds)

"Giovanna has shown herself in the last three months to be an experienced and patient mother. It makes us happy to now observe how she shows her cub the world outside the mother-cub den," zoo director Rasem Baban said.

Eleven-year-old Giovanna gave birth to the cub in November after spending several years with her partner, the 18-year-old Yoghi. The birth was a success for the zoo because polar bears must have chemistry in order to mate.

Deutschland Eisbären Mädchen im Tierpark Hellabrunn in München (picture-alliance/Sven Simon)

The fluffy cub played in the grass.

The zoo hopes the new cub will spawn greater interest in preserving endangered wild polar bears, whose habitat is shrinking due to global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps.

The baby polar bear does not yet have a name. All newborn animals at the zoo in 2016 had a name starting with Q.

Deutschland Eisbären Mädchen im Tierpark Hellabrunn in München (picture-alliance/Sven Simon)

A mature polar bear weighs between 400-725 kilograms (900-1600 pounds)

"The challenge of finding a suitable name that begins with Q has stimulated the creative juices of many visitors, with numerous suggestions submitted to the zoo," the zoo said.

Visitors to the park and polar bear fans can vote online among seven names.

cw/jm (dpa)


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