An orphaned polar bear cub has been transferred to the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) at the Assiniboine Park Zoo on 28 October as part of a rescue operation with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship.
This was the first such cub identified as a candidate for the IPBCC facility, that opened at Assiniboine Park Zoo on 23 January 2012. Natural resource officers found the 38-kg, 11-month old female cub a few days earlier near the Churchill airport. There are no known instances of an orphaned cub of that size surviving in the wild on its own.
Dr. Brian Joseph, Director of Zoological Operations at the Assiniboine Park Zoo and Dr. Chris Enright, Head of Veterinary Services, travelled to Churchill on 27 October and accompanied the polar bear cub to Winnipeg a day later.
“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.”
“Manitoba has been recognised as a world leader in the protection of polar bears, which are listed as a threatened species in Manitoba,” said Minister of Conservation & Water Stewardship, Gord Mackintosh. “This orphaned cub will have the best and most specialised care available in the world to ensure it thrives at in its new home.”
After the bear arrived at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, she went into quarantine for the standard 30 day period and will be off-exhibit to the public and media during that time.
As you can see the polar bear is comfortably settling into her new home less than 24 hours after arriving on 28 October:
The Government of Manitoba has invested more than $30 million for the ‘Journey to Churchill’ exhibit currently under construction at the Assiniboine Park Zoo — and scheduled to open in summer 2014 — as part of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy’s overall $200 million redevelopment plan. A main component of the exhibit, the IPBCC as a state-of-the-art facility allows the zoo to more actively contribute to environmental and wildlife education, research, and conservation and serves a variety of functions, including housing and transitioning orphaned and at-risk polar bear from northern Manitoba.
(Source: Assiniboine Park Zoo news release, 28.10.2013)