Berlin zoo welcomes newborn polar bear cub | News | DW | 09.12.2017
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Germany

Berlin zoo welcomes newborn polar bear cub

Mother Tonja has given birth to two polar bear cubs, but only one survived. The zoo's polar curator has warned of the cub's vulnerability months after Tonja's firstborn died.

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Polar bear: Tonja's new cub

Germans on Saturday celebrated the birth of a polar bear cub at Berlin's Tierpark zoo.

The unnamed cub was one of two polar bears born to mother Tonja. However, one of the cubs was stillborn and later eaten by its mother.

Read more: 'Polar bears should not be kept in zoos at all'

Zoo staff has yet to determine the cub's sex since they are unable to approach the baby polar bear and its mother during the first days of its life.

The cub's birth comes after Tonja's first cub, Fritz, died of unknown causes in March, when it was 4 months old.

"We are very glad. Still, like last year, it's now time to cross fingers," said Tierpark zoo director Andreas Knieriem.

'Very vulnerable'

Tierpark polar bear curator Florian Sicks said that zoo staff has taken the necessary precautions to ensure the best possible outcome for Tonja and her newborn cub.

"We have to rein in the euphoria a bit – the first four to ten days are especially difficult for a polar bear cub," said Sicks.

Read more: Why do we get so upset about animal stories?

"They come into the world naked, deaf and blind; so they are very vulnerable to external threats like infectious diseases. We also don't know if the mother has enough milk, if any milk is coming out when the baby drinks. So we have to be cautious, but we are optimistic."

The Tierpark zoo in eastern Berlin is one of two zoological parks in the German capital.

ls/rc (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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