POWELL, OH (WJW) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed a new polar bear cub this Thanksgiving.
According to the zoo, the cub was born Thursday at 12:43 a.m.
It's the offspring of 13-year-old Aurora and 20-year-old Lee.
The animal care team says Aurora is being an attentive mother and was already observed nursing her baby. While she continues to care for her cub, she and the little one will be kept in a private denning area until the spring.
Both Aurora and her twin sister, Anana, had been denning for several weeks. The zoo's Animal Care team observed Aurora frequently resting in her den leading up to the cub’s birth, while Anana has shown more activity, indicating that she may not be preparing for a birth. Because there are no pregnancy tests for polar bears, the team will continue to monitor Anana’s activity as polar bears can give birth from November to early January.
Aurora has mothered three other cubs, however this is her first cub with Lee.
Lee arrived at the Columbus Zoo from Denver Zoo on November 7, 2018. His move was recommended by The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. The program is designed to maximize genetic diversity and increase the population sustainability of threatened and endangered species in human care.
The polar bear became the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. The zoo says it is primarily threatened due to climate change.
However, polar bears also have one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal due to delayed implantation, during which a fertilized egg does not implant in the uterus for several months to ensure the cub is born to the mother at the best time for survival.
Since 2008, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has contributed more than $250,000 to research benefiting polar bears in the Arctic.
The zoo is also designated as an Arctic Ambassador Center by Polar Bears International.
At the Columbus Zoo, visitors are encouraged to do their part to save this amazing species by turning off lights when leaving a room, minimizing their use of heating and cooling units, and other ways to reduce energy consumption.
Click here for more information on Aurora and Lee's cub.