One of the cutest families in the world right now may just be Freedom the polar bear and her twin cubs from the Ouwehand Zoo in Rhenen, Netherlands. The cubs were born last November to their 14-year-old mother and got their first taste of the outdoor world just a couple weeks ago. So far, the cubs are doing great and are spending their days playing, sleeping, eating, and learning how to be polar bears!
It is still unknown whether the cubs are male or female, but we will find out the first time the cubs swim in front of the big glass wall in their exhibit. There will be some peeping zookeepers paying close attention to figure out if Freedom has sons or daughters (or maybe one of each). Once gender is confirmed, the naming process will begin.
The cubs will stay with Freedom for at least 1.5 years, after which they may be moved to another zoo. The twins have not yet met their grandmother, Huggie, who also resides at the zoo; Huggie may be able to meet her grandcubs in a few months. The twins won’t be meeting their father, Victor, who was born in Germany and now resides in England. Victor also happens to be the father to nearly all of Europe’s polar bear cubs, so the twins may eventually meet some half-siblings!
Stay tuned for blog updates on Freedom and her family! If you have questions for the Ouwehand Zoo, please let us know and we will try to answer them in future blogs.
You can can watch Freedom’s family on the Ouwehand Park Cam and the Ouwehand Waterfall Cam. The Ouwehand Zoo is part of the Polar Bears International (PBI) network of Arctic Ambassador Centers, which provide leadership for greenhouse gas reductions in their communities.
PBI and Ouwehand Zoo also support the Pole to Pole campaign. This campaign is about the Poles; the wonderfully varied species living there and the threats they face. A campaign focused on EVERYONE and how small changes in our behaviour can help polar species. Join the movement, visit www.poletopolecampaign.org and pull the plug!