Zookeepers have announced the UK’s youngest polar bear, born in a Scottish wildlife park late last year, is a boy.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s vets at the Highland Wildlife Park confirmed the three-month-old cub is male during his first routine health check on Wednesday.
He was born in December 2021 to mother Victoria and father Arktos at the wildlife park, near Aviemore.
Keith Gilchrist, animal collection manager at the park, said: “After watching Victoria and her cub closely on CCTV over the winter, it is very exciting to find out we have a little boy and that he is in good health.
“He is already becoming more confident every day and it is incredible to see him grow and develop.”
During his first check-up the cub was also chipped, vaccinated and confirmed to be in good health.
The three-month-old does not yet have a name, and staff from the wildlife park are soon set to ask the public for help in what their newest arrival should be called.
IT'S A BOY 💙🐻❄️
Our tiny cub received his first health check yesterday and was chipped, vaccinated and confirmed to be in good health. Find out more 👉https://t.co/wD9MumeXag
In the coming weeks we're going to be asking YOU for your help naming our newest arrival, stay tuned 🐾 pic.twitter.com/ja8v7HXAln
— Highland Wildlife Park (@HighlandWPark) February 24, 2022
Public viewing is still closed to give Victoria and her newborn peace and quiet, but the cub will soon be introduced to his large outdoor enclosure where visitors will then be able to try to spot him.
Mr Gilchrist said: “Like all the animals in our care, our polar bears play an important role in attracting and engaging thousands of visitors each year so they can learn about the threats animals face in the wild and the action they can take to help.
“Their power to connect with people with nature and encourage behaviour change is invaluable.”
Victoria and Arktos previously had cub Hamish in 2017, who was at the time the first polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years.
As part of the breeding programme for the species, Hamish moved to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in November 2020.