Tierpark Zoo in Berlin welcomed its newest resident early Thursday morning when keepers noticed that mother bear Tonja had given birth to a new cub.
In early November Tonja retreated to her birthing den and the keepers had been monitoring her on a surveillance camera every morning before entering her enclosure. On December 7th they noticed Tonja laying next to "a tiny cub the size of a guinea pig."
When they checked the cameras they realized they had managed to capture the whole birth on tape.
Wow didn't realize they were born so small and fragile. 😢— Frank Fletes (@NoClanFrank) December 9, 2017
Last year Tonja gave birth to Fritz who sadly did not survive to adulthood. Early childhood for polar cubs is especially fragile in the first few months.
Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem has said “Naturally, we are delighted. But, just like last year, we now have to keep our fingers crossed. The mortality rate for young polar bears is around 50 percent, and it is particularly high in the first ten days.”
Dr Florian Sicks, curator for the polar bears shares in the excitement. “Tonja had been noticeably calmer since Tuesday. Then yesterday there was suddenly something tiny by her side. Today, I could even hear suckling noises as the cub was feeding.”
Over the coming days, no one will approach the birthing den. Mother and cub require total peace and privacy to give them the greatest chance of success