Milana the polar bear gave birth to two cubs in a Hanover zoo last week. The Erlebnis Zoo (Adventure Zoo) announced the new arrivals on Monday.
It marks the first time that polar bear cubs have been born at the zoo.
A specially installed video camera shows Milana giving birth to a cub, about the size of a guinea pig, and then lying down on her side and licking it and holding it between her front legs to keep it warm.
One cub was born on Wednesday and the other on Thursday, although one of the cubs died shortly after birth.
“From the experiences of other zoos we are aware that the first 10 days are particularly critical,” said Klaus Brunsing, the zoo’s director.
“Soon after the births, Milana was exemplary in caring for both cubs,” added Brunsing.
First sightings in the new year
No one will be allowed to go anywhere near the birthing cave, as absolute quiet is important for successful raising of the cub, according to a statement posted on the zoo’s website.
As in the wild, it is expected that Milana will leave the cave for the first time in early 2020.
Until this time, Milana and her cub’s well-being will be monitored through cameras that also pick up the sound that the cub is making.
The father of the cubs, Sprinter, first met Milana in 2017 when she arrived from Russia, and the pair hit it off almost immediately.
However, male polar bears have nothing to do with the raising of cubs, and Sprinter is already back in the polar bear enclosure.
Polar bears are classed as an endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are around 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears living in their natural habitat in the Arctic.