Assiniboine Cub

10/28/2015 4:51:40 PM

Orphaned Polar Bear Cubs Transferred to Assiniboine Park Zoo

Two orphaned male polar bear cubs were relocated from Churchill, Manitoba to Winnipeg yesterday after their mother's death.

The mother bear was killed by a civilian who tried to scare her and her cubs away from a building by shooting off a cracker shell. The shell accidentally hit the mom, leading to significant blood loss and death. Cracker shells are a primary deterrent used to scare polar bears away from buildings and protect people.

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship determined that the two cubs, approximately 11 months old, should be relocated to the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

Polar bears need to stay with their mothers for at least the first two winters to learn how to hunt and to have her protection from other bears. Many wildlife experts believe cubs this young will not be able to survive on their own.

Members of the zoo's Polar Bear Rescue Team, Head of Veterinary Services Dr. Chris Enright, and General Curator Gary Lunsford, traveled to Churchill to supervise the polar bear cubs' trip to Winnipeg.

"Both cubs are in good health and are adjusting well to their new surroundings," said Dr. Chris Enright. "Obviously this is a very unfortunate situation and we prefer that all polar bears remain in the wild. However, we are happy that a facility such as this exists for polar bears who would otherwise not survive on their own."

Now that the cubs have arrived at the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, they will undergo the standard 30-day quarantine period and will not be visible to the public and media during that time.

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