THE first polar bear cub born in the UK for 25 years has finally ventured outside after nearly three months.
The cub was born just before Christmas but has until now been closely guarded by its mother Victoria at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie.
But the unnamed bear — whose gender is still not known — took its first steps outdoors last weekend.
Zookeeper Una Richardson said: ‘I was visiting Victoria on Sunday morning. Suddenly I saw a small, fluffy bundle next to her and had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t seeing things. It was a very special experience and one I’ll never forget.’
The cub’s progress has been followed by Channel 4 filmmakers working on a documentary about the breeding programme.
Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at the park, said such programmes may be vital to protect bears in future.
‘The change in the Arctic climate, specifically the shortening of the ice season, coupled with more direct human pressures, is having a detrimental effect on the species,’ he said.