Suka, a polar bear living at the Detroit Zoo, has given birth before, but sadly neither cub survived more than a few days. But the third time appears to have been the charm for this mama bear. According to the Detroit Zoo, the 8-year-old bear has given birth to not just one, but two healthy cubs!
At time of writing, the twins were 2 months old and quickly growing, leaving caretakers excited about raising their first bear cubs since 2004. But although the cubs are now getting stronger, growing teeth, and even learning to walk, their early days didn’t exactly go off without a hitch.
Two days after the twins were born on Nov. 17, 2020, zoo caretakers noticed one of the newborn cubs (who was born in a private maternity den away from the other bears) seemed unusually lethargic and weak. Veterinarians rushed to administer fluid, formula, and detailed exam. Caretakers followed up with round-the-clock care and bottle-feeding.
Thankfully, this baby girl cub survived her health scare. Two months later, the zoo reported that this baby girl had gained almost 10 pounds, allowing her to “graduate” from her incubator into a “playpen.”
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) January 29, 2021
It’s unclear if the bottle-fed cub will be raised by her mother or continue being cared for by humans. This potential scenario could provide the zoo with an interesting learning opportunity, according to the statement.
“The rare occurrence of twin polar bears being raised separately – one by the mother and one by humans – means that much will be learned through this experience,” the zoo explained. Either way, the bear cub will get to live in the shared enclosure with the zoo’s other polar bears when she’s old enough.
Enjoy a few precious moments with Suka and her cub from the specially-designed, private maternity den at the Detroit…
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Regardless, we’re so glad Suka gets to raise at least one of her bear cubs, because caretakers report that this sweet mama bear is such a loving and attentive mother. The birth of twin cubs is also a boon for the species, too, which have been threatened by climate change to such a degree that polar bears could be extinct in 80 years.
“Greenhouse gas emissions causing global climate change have led to loss of sea ice, which threatens polar bears’ survival as these marine mammals rely on ice to hunt, breed, and in some cases, den,” the zoo explained.
Congratulations, Suka! Hopefully, Suka’s adorable twin cubs will inspire people to help polar bears from going extinct.