A polar bear cub is sleeping with her favorite toy, a stuffed animal, after losing her sibling and being left alone in a nursery habitat at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The little four-pound bundle of white fur has not yet been given a name. The polar bear is healthy and makes a happy “purring” sound when she sleeps with the toy in her “crib.”
The 5-week-old polar bear cub starred in a brief video with her stuffed animal toy. The video has now gone viral and has been viewed more than one million times in just a few days, NewsMax reports. The noises the bear cub makes in the video were deemed “sounds of contentment” by Columbus Zoo staffers. The cub’s vocalization while snoozing resembles purring or “cooing” noises made by happy critters and sleeping infants, or a light snoring.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) December 14, 2015
The polar bear cub was born on November 6 and currently measures 16 inches long. She weighed in at 1.5 pounds when she was born and then quickly gained 10 grams during her first 24 hours after birth. Female polar bears typically live for about 24 years. The Arctic bears commonly grow to reach eight feet tall and can weigh up to 550 pounds.
Below is an excerpt about the polar bear cub as posted to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Facebook page.
“Both eyes have started to open as of yesterday, but they are not fully open yet. The care staff says the sound that she makes in the video is of contentment. Her motor skills are improving each day and she has started trying to stand up on all fours, especially when she’s ready for her next meal! She is on six feedings a day, every four hours. The team has been evaluating her daily needs and provides care 24/7.”
The female polar bear cub was removed from the den where her mother, Aurora, was caring for her not long after she was born. When the mama bear started to shy away from constantly caring for her cub, the Columbus Zoo staffers decided to remove the cub and care for her and in the nursery themselves. The cub’s sibling died not long after the mother gave birth.
— Why So Serious? (@HolisticComedy) December 14, 2015
Polar bears are the largest land predators on the planet. Although they boast pure white cast when they are born, their color patterns throughout their life range from a tinged white to a yellowish due to stains sustained from seal blubber oil and solar oxidation, the Columbus Zoo website notes. The bears’ fur is not actually white. Each individual hair is reportedly a pigment-free strand with a transparent hollow core.
In the wild, polar bears primarily dine on seals and beluga whales. When in captivity, the carnivores are fed fish, fresh produce, cod liver oil, and a hard feed designed to suit their nutritious needs. The only natural predators of the large bears are man and other polar bears.
“Polar bears, much like giant pandas, are highly specialized animals that give birth to very small babies which makes them fragile during their first year of life,” Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Director of Communications Jennifer Wilson stated in a media release shared by KSL News. “Survival rates in human care are around 50 percent which is similar to that of wild bears.”
Starvation could soon lead to the death of at-risk bears and the loss of orphaned bear cubs in the wild, according to the Polar Bears International organization. The group feels that when proper care and conservation efforts are enacted, zoos and aquariums play an important role in the continuation of the species.
What do you think of the polar bear sleeping with toy viral video?
[Image via Shutterstock.com]