Out in the Open

 A polar bear cub and its parents: a family portrait at Novosibirsk Zoo  03/13/2014, 15:09

Ilnar Salahiev
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Out in the Open
Photography by Ilnar Salahiev

Polar bears Kai and Gerda are both six years old; they moved to Novosibirsk Zoo from Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2008, when they were still young themselves. In early December, they had a baby. Polar bears rarely breed in capitivity; the last time this happened at Novosibirsk Zoo was 42 years ago. Gerda started to make herself a den in November, and in December stopped coming going outside at all.

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Interestingly, pregnant polar bears hibernate for 50-80 days in the wild. The cub is born at this time, and the mother’s first three months with the newborn usually pass in the shelter. Males and non-pregnant females are often active in winter — for example, Kai, the cub’s father, enjoys cheerfully splashing around in the pool in the next enclosure, which has started to be filled with water. The bear’s sex is still unknown, so it not yet been named.

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