Polar Bear Cub Makes Debut at Brookfield Zoo

Apr 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from Brookfield Zoo

    Brookfield, Ill., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A polar bear cub, born
 December 2, 2000, will be making its public debut today, April 12, at
 Brookfield Zoo's Bear Grottos.  The estimated 30-pound cub and its mother,
 Arki, emerged from their maternity den where they have been for the past four
 months.  Its sex has not yet been determined.
     Last October, zoo staff separated Arki from her mate, Aussie, in
 preparation for denning, a natural behavior for pregnant bears.  Within the
 den room is a concrete maternity igloo that has a tunnel leading to a semi-
 circular inner chamber.  The igloo is covered with straw.  Its doorway faces
 away from service doors to provide the bears privacy.  In addition, a video
 monitor placed inside the den allowed keepers to view Arki and her cub without
 disturbing them.  In the wild, polar bears often den in packed snow or dry
 stream beds.
     At birth, a cub weighs approximately 1 1/2 pounds and measures less than
 10 inches long. (Depending on its sex, the cub will weigh approximately 660 to
 1,200 pounds when fully grown.)  Polar bears are born blind and deaf and
 are basically helpless for the first month, spending all of their time nursing
 and sleeping.  They begin eating solid foods at about 3 months of age and may
 continue to nurse for more than a year.  Polar bear cubs remain with their
 mothers for approximately two years.
     Arki was born at Brookfield Zoo in 1984.  The sire, Aussie, was born at
 Adelaide Zoo in Australia in 1985 and was brought to Brookfield the following
 year as a mate for Arki.
     To ensure the safety of the cub in the exhibit, the moat and drained pool
 have been lined with more than 150 bales of straw.  Water will be added to the
 pool gradually in the coming weeks at which time Arki will teach her cub to
 swim.
     It is estimated that more than 20,000 polar bears are in the wild, though
 exact numbers are not known.  The polar bear's habitat is threatened due to
 oil spills and other environmental degradation which decreases their main food
 source -- seals.  Polar bears are listed as conservation dependent by IUCN-The
 World Conservation Union, and are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection
 Act and CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
 Wild Fauna and Floral.
     Brookfield Zoo is known throughout the world for its innovative,
 naturalistic, multi-species exhibits, and its international role in animal
 population management and wildlife conservation.  Open every day of the year,
 Brookfield Zoo is located at First Ave. and 31st St. in Brookfield, Ill., just
 14 miles west of downtown Chicago.
 
 

SOURCE Brookfield Zoo
    Brookfield, Ill., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A polar bear cub, born
 December 2, 2000, will be making its public debut today, April 12, at
 Brookfield Zoo's Bear Grottos.  The estimated 30-pound cub and its mother,
 Arki, emerged from their maternity den where they have been for the past four
 months.  Its sex has not yet been determined.
     Last October, zoo staff separated Arki from her mate, Aussie, in
 preparation for denning, a natural behavior for pregnant bears.  Within the
 den room is a concrete maternity igloo that has a tunnel leading to a semi-
 circular inner chamber.  The igloo is covered with straw.  Its doorway faces
 away from service doors to provide the bears privacy.  In addition, a video
 monitor placed inside the den allowed keepers to view Arki and her cub without
 disturbing them.  In the wild, polar bears often den in packed snow or dry
 stream beds.
     At birth, a cub weighs approximately 1 1/2 pounds and measures less than
 10 inches long. (Depending on its sex, the cub will weigh approximately 660 to
 1,200 pounds when fully grown.)  Polar bears are born blind and deaf and
 are basically helpless for the first month, spending all of their time nursing
 and sleeping.  They begin eating solid foods at about 3 months of age and may
 continue to nurse for more than a year.  Polar bear cubs remain with their
 mothers for approximately two years.
     Arki was born at Brookfield Zoo in 1984.  The sire, Aussie, was born at
 Adelaide Zoo in Australia in 1985 and was brought to Brookfield the following
 year as a mate for Arki.
     To ensure the safety of the cub in the exhibit, the moat and drained pool
 have been lined with more than 150 bales of straw.  Water will be added to the
 pool gradually in the coming weeks at which time Arki will teach her cub to
 swim.
     It is estimated that more than 20,000 polar bears are in the wild, though
 exact numbers are not known.  The polar bear's habitat is threatened due to
 oil spills and other environmental degradation which decreases their main food
 source -- seals.  Polar bears are listed as conservation dependent by IUCN-The
 World Conservation Union, and are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection
 Act and CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
 Wild Fauna and Floral.
     Brookfield Zoo is known throughout the world for its innovative,
 naturalistic, multi-species exhibits, and its international role in animal
 population management and wildlife conservation.  Open every day of the year,
 Brookfield Zoo is located at First Ave. and 31st St. in Brookfield, Ill., just
 14 miles west of downtown Chicago.
 
 SOURCE  Brookfield Zoo