December 7, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
There’s going to be a new girl in town.
An orphaned polar bear cub from Churchill, a 38-kilogram female about 11-months-old, is on the way to the Assiniboine Park Zoo where she will be the first female resident of the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.
The little cub was found wandering on her own, with no sign of her mother, late last week by natural resources officers near the Churchill airport.
A press release from the zoo stated there are no known cases where an orphaned cub of that size has survived in the wild on its own.
Dr. Brian Joseph, the zoo's director of zoological operations, and Dr. Chris Enright, head of the zoo's veterinary services, travelled to Churchill and were flying back with the cub tonight.
"The IPBCC was built for exactly this purpose - to house and transition orphaned polar bear cubs that would otherwise not survive on their own," Don Peterkin, chief operations officer for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said in a statement. "Obviously we prefer that all polar bears remain in the wild, but we’re happy to say a facility such as this is now available for polar bears where this is their only chance for survival and can provide a new home for this cub."
Peterkin said there is room for a third cub in the enclosure area which is currently operational. Already residing there are two male bears - the 257-kg Hudson and the 128 kg-polar bear who arrived Oct. 9 from Churchill, which had bitten a man in town but was relocated rather than euthanized.
The IPBCC will be part of the Journey to Churchill exhibit under contruction and is expected to open in the summer of 2014.
Photos and video of the new cub, which will be under quarantine for the standard 30 days and not able to be viewed, will be made available on Tuesday by the zoo.