A polar bear cub rejected by its mother last fall is now healthy enough to move to a public exhibit at the Toronto Zoo.
Keepers transferred the male cub from the zoo’s wildlife health centre to a Tundra Trek polar bear den Friday morning. His mother, a 10-year-old bear named Aurora, will be kept in a separate area.
The zoo’s wildlife care staff has hand-raised the cub, now 17 kilograms, since its premature birth on Oct. 11, 2011.
Two other cubs born in the same litter died of wounds Aurora caused.
“This has been … a challenging case for the zoo and a valiant and dedicated team effort of both the wildlife health centre and wildlife care staff,” said zoo CEO John Tracogna.
“Ultimately, it has been a rewarding journey for everyone involved, and we are happy to introduce an active and healthy polar bear cub, our new Arctic ambassador, to help share our conservation message with our visitors.”
The surviving cub now needs a new name, which will be announced March 31. To send in suggestions, click here.
Polar bears typically give birth between late November and early January, and the zoo said it’s likely the species’ earliest recorded birth in captivity.
With files from The Canadian Press