Tierpark Animal News

The secret is out: It’s a boy!

First veterinary examination for the polar bear cub at the Tierpark Berlin.

The secret of the white bundle of fur’s gender has finally been revealed: it’s a little male polar bear. The vet and zoo director Dr Andreas Knieriem did not miss out on the opportunity to personally carry out the first examination.

Together with the experienced keeper Detlef Balkow and vet Dr Günter Strauß, he entered the polar bear box with the young animal for the first time yesterday lunchtime, as it was time for the first veterinary examination. This involved weighing the little polar bear and giving him a chip for identification and a worming treatment.

The polar bear mum Tonja has been prepared for this day over the course of a good seven weeks. During daily visits the team led by keeper Andrea Fleischer has been slowly approaching the den with the young polar bear family. Now the polar bear cub could be examined up close for the first time. Mum Tonja was locked in a box next door for a short time so that the little cub could be examined without any danger. She was occupied with all kinds of treats, such as grapes, carrots and meat, and therefore distracted from the events in the box next door.

The entire examination was already over after five exciting minutes: fortunately the polar bear baby has developed fantastically well. Thanks to the extremely nutritious mother’s milk with a fat content of 30%, the little one has rapidly gained weight over the last few weeks. He currently drinks from Mum’s teats every three hours. At 67 cm tall from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, the little bear weighs an impressive 4.6 kg in the meantime.

“It was a great pleasure for me to be able to be there myself at our polar bear cub’s first veterinary check. The little one did really well and was very curious,” notes Dr Knieriem. “Holding such a little polar bear in your arms is always a really special experience.”

The little polar bear boy is still enjoying the warming closeness to his polar bear mum in the birthing den. Visitors can enjoy the frolicking youngster in the polar bear enclosure from the spring. Until then, anyone interested can follow the little bear’s development thanks to weekly videos on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tierparkberlin/) and co.

And that wasn’t the only news: our little polar bear has got a new sponsor! radioBERLIN 88.8 is taking on the sponsorship and together with the Berliner Zeitung and Berliner Kurier it is looking for a name for the sponsored fluffy cub. The search for a name starts today. All suggestions can be submitted to radioBERLIN 88.8, the Berliner Zeitung or Berliner Kurier by 1 February 2017. The radio station is accepting name suggestions by phone on 030/30 32 888 200 or by email at studio@radioberlin.de. The newspapers are collecting polar bear names at eisbaer@berliner-zeitung.de or eisbaer@berliner-kurier.de. A jury will select the loveliest and most suitable name from all the suggestions received.

The young family cannot be seen by zoo visitors at the moment as just like in their natural habitat, the mother only leaves the birthing den with her cub in the spring. However, visitors can still see the little polar bear boy’s dad at the zoo, who is currently enjoying the first snow of the year.

Tonja gave birth to a polar bear cub for the first time at Tierpark Berlin on Thursday, 3 November 2016. There is a polar bear cub at Tierpark Berlin again for the first time in 22 years. The polar bear’s parents are Tonja, who is now seven, and five-year old Wolodja.