The three polar bear cubs, whose gender is not yet known, were born between Christmas and New Year. According to the animal park, they are doing “wonderfully”.
Three baby polar bears were born in Marineland Antibes, announced Thursday the largest marine animal park in Europe, which has housed since 2010 a couple of this species classified “vulnerable” as part of a conservation program.
They are doing “wonderfully”
The three cubs, whose sex is not known, were born between Christmas and New Year and “are doing wonderfully,” said the park, which postponed the announcement of their birth, due to a rate of 50% mortality observed in the wild.
“You can only see them on camera, without touching or approaching them. It is thought that they could leave their den for the first time in late March or early April. It is the mother, Flocke, who is breastfeeding them, ” Pascal Picot, park director-general , told AFP .
Blind and deaf at birth, babies are particularly fragile and a thousand times lighter than their mother, with an estimated weight at the start between 300 and 500 grams, when Flocke weighs nearly half a ton.
“It was a natural mating, without any human intervention” that allowed their birth, also said Pascal Picot.
Already a baby in 2014
It is the second litter of Flocke, resulting from its mating with Rasputin, the male, which was quickly separated and transferred to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Great Britain to avoid attacks.
A small teddy bear, Hope was born in 2014 at Marineland and had been transferred to Sweden once weaned.
Criticized by animal welfare associations
The presence of polar bears in Antibes is regularly criticized by animal defenders such as the association “C’est Assez” which judges it unnatural to keep bears in sunny latitudes which are not their own in nature.
The park replies that they have access to 24-hour ice caves, two seawater pools at 14 ° C and refrigerated and air-conditioned caves at 20-21 ° C, while in nature, in in the middle of summer, bears in the far north of Canada are exposed to a temperature of 25 ° C, to the melting of the ice floe and forced to hunt near homes, especially in landfills.
The polar bear is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Around 26,000 remain worldwide. Along with Polar Bear International, an internationally recognized NGO dedicated to the protection of polar bears and their habitat, Marineland Park is engaged in research and conservation of polar bears, he said in a press release.