SAINT-FĂ‰LICIEN, Quebec, Dec. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Zoo sauvage de Saint-FĂ©licien, located in Canada, is extremely proud to confirm the birth during the night of November 27 of a polar bear cub in their institution. The event, especially rare in captivity, constitutes excellent news for the genetic diversity of the species, listed as vulnerable worldwide by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC). The parents come from different biological environments and had never mated together before.
The birth was quite a surprise for the team. The signs of gestation are not easy to detect in polar bears, and it is while she was making her regular rounds early in the morning on November 27 that the animal caregiver happened to discover the presence of a cub in the lair occupied by the 16 year-old female, Aisaqvak. The event is the crowning achievement of several years of efforts by the zoo biologists and veterinarians, who have taken multiple steps since 2011 to ensure a successful mating.
Aisaqvak had previously given birth to a cub, in 2008. That cub did not survive but the mother was able to demonstrate her excellent parenting skills when she gave birth to a male and a female cub the following year.
It will take a few weeks to determine the sex of the cub, who weighs .2% of the weight of the mother, herself a healthy 330 kg. Mother and cub will discover the brand new polar bear habitat at Zoo sauvage de Saint-FĂ©licien in the spring of 2019, an event that should be rich in emotions for the visitors who witness this unique experience.
An exceptional contribution for the species
This birth is highly meaningful for the Zoo and the worldwide population. Polar bear populations are on the decrease in the wild, as well as in captivity. In 2006, there were 364 polar bears in institutions worldwide, vs only 298 individuals in 2015. Reproduction of the species is especially difficult in an institution, which explains why such events are so rare. This is a first cub for YellĂ©, a 13 year-old male.
The evolution of the cub can be followed on the Facebook page of the Zoo, at https://www.facebook.com/zoosauvage/.
For further information: Christine Gagnon, Director, Education and Conservation, 418-679-0543 (5278), email@example.com