Polar bear cubs, early Christmas present to Vienna zoo

12th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

12th December 2007, Deputy zoo director Harald Schwammer, thrilled by the latest additions to Schoenbrunn's growing bear population, said the baby bears were about the size of guinea pigs, judging from first grainy images snapped by the keepers.

12th December 2007

Deputy zoo director Harald Schwammer, thrilled by the latest additions to Schoenbrunn's growing bear population, said the baby bears were about the size of guinea pigs, judging from first grainy images snapped by the keepers.

Keepers had managed to sneak a first peek at Olinka's offspring, born three days ago, and Schwammer said: "They are still completely helpless and blind, but look round and healthy. I am really happy, as polar bears are extremely endangered in the wild."

But visitors will have to bide their time, Schwammer said. It may be up to four months until their mother will allow them to leave the birthing burrow. "But they are twins, so they will probably be a bit rowdier, so maybe they'll venture out early."

Contrary to their German cousin Knut, who was rejected by his mother and turned into a media sensation, Vienna's baby twins are very well looked after by their 15-year-old mother.

"The good news is that they are no Knuts," Schwammer said. "It's Olinka's third litter, she's taking care of them with a lot of experience, keeping them warm in her paws."

Schoenbrunn has proved highly successful in breeding polar bears. Seven cubs were born in the last 10 years. When old enough, the cubs will find homes in other zoos. Currently Copenhagen, Duisburg in Germany and Sao Paolo in Brazil are on a waiting list.

DPA

Subject: German news

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