Bear Patrol rescues orphaned polar bear cub

Bear Patrol rescues orphaned polar bear cub

16 April 2012

A lone polar bear cub has been picked up by inspectors from the Ministry of Nature Conservation of Yakutia. They were conducting a survey of the Arctic archipelago of Bear Islands in the East Siberian Sea as part of WWF Russia’s Bear Patrol programme, project leader Viktor Nikiforov said.


The bear cub’s tracks were discovered several days ago between Krestovsky and Chetyrokhstolvbovoi Islands. Scientists immediately realised that the bear cub was alone, without its mother. Their searches, however, proved fruitless: the mother bear either died or lost track of her cub during a heavy snowstorm. Viktor Nikiforov said that the orphan cub was female, four months old. The patrol members took her to their temporary expedition base camp, built on the site of the former polar station on Chetyrokhstolvbovoi Island.


The patrol team contacted the WWF Bear Patrol team in Moscow, specialists from the department of biological resources at the Ministry of Nature Conservation of Yakutia and workers at the Moscow Zoo, who have substantial experience in feeding polar bears. The bear’s future is currently under consideration.


“The youngster is currently feeling fine, she’s getting used to porridge made from condensed milk, with added seal fat; she also likes minced fish. The first year of life is the most difficult for a polar bear. Up to 70 percent of bear cubs die in their first year. It is very sad that this polar bear cub has been orphaned but we hope that she will be okay and that this little bear survives,” Viktor Nikiforov said in conclusion.


The Bear Patrol programme has been running in the Arctic under the auspices of WWF Russia for five years. Local residents form these patrols to combat poaching, monitor wildlife populations, protect walrus breeding grounds, and provide environmental education programmes.