Aurora, the mother of this female polar bear cub at Columbus Zoo, has recently begun taking longish breaks from caring for her new daughter. And that gives veterinarians at the zoo a chance to take baby aside for some hand-rearing.
The cub was born on Nov. 6, the survivor of two cubs born to Aurora. (The other cub's death was a sadly common occurrence among polar bears, as only about 50 percent of them make it through their initial weeks of life.)
At the time of this photo, the cub weighed just 1.5 pounds. The zoo notes that polar bears are very fragile during their first year, and only about half survive under human care, a percentage similar to cubs in the wild.
So, fingers crossed for the new little one! Looks like she's in good hands, and the zoo says that so far she's healthy and eating regularly.
A new polar bear cub at Columbus Zoo gets some hands-on care.
Feb. 27 is International Polar Bear Day! Polar Bears International founded the day to bring attention to the Arctic giants and the challenges they face from habitat loss and the attendant strains on their food supply.
Let's take a moment to appreciate these special animals.
The polar bear's stomping grounds encompass the land and seas of the Arctic Ocean and include parts of Greenland, Norway, Russia, the United States and Canada.
Adult males can top 1,500 pounds, the females about half that. The largest polar bear ever documented was just over 11 feet tall on its hind legs.
The most carnivorous of bears, polar bears live primarily on ringed and bearded seals. They'll eat other fare, too, such as birds, crabs, rodents, eggs and even reindeer.
Indeed, as warmer weather has melted more sea ice, they have
In the United States, the polar bear is protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. Under the latter, the bears are listed as threatened.
The World Wildlife Fund currently asserts that there are