Polar Bear experts are on hand during Polar Bear Cam season to weigh in on your frequently asked questions!
Today’s Question: When and where are cubs born?
After feeding heavily in April or May, female polar bears that have mated dig a den in late October or early November. Most choose den sites in snowdrifts along mountain slopes or hills near the shore, but some dig their dens in snowdrifts on the sea ice. Cubs are born in November or December in snow caves called maternity dens.
“Twins are the most common number of cubs, but recently polar bears are having more single cubs in western Hudson Bay. Sea ice isn’t around as long as it used to be in this area, which translates to reduced hunting time and fewer fat reserves than females in this area had 30 years ago,” said Alysa McCall, Polar Bears International’s field programs manager and a polar bear biologist. Less fat on a mother leads to a reduced capacity to produce and sustain offspring; one cub is easier to raise and nurture than two when resources are lowered.