Polar bear birthday

Polar bear birthday

29 December 2016

On 29 December, Russia marks the birthday of polar bears. Female bears retreat to their maternity dens around mid-winter; therefore, the symbolic date in the run-up to New Year’s Eve was chosen for the occasion.


A polar bear usually gives birth to two tiny (half a kilo each) cubs that start gaining weight fast from their mother’s milk. By the end of March or early April, when they leave the den, the cubs already weigh about 10 kilogrammes.


Cubs usually stay with their mother until they are two and a half years old. The first year is the most difficult. Some 30 to 50 percent of offspring die in the harsh Arctic conditions.


“Experts estimate that by the middle of this century, due to the negative impact of climate change, the world’s population of polar bears may drop by two-thirds,” polar bear expert Viktor Nikiforov said. “Unfortunately, Russia has not completely tackled the poaching and illegal hide trade problem. However, we have seen some positive changes this year, including major polar bear research expeditions and involvement of more companies from various sectors of the economy in polar bear conservation.”


(Photo © Viktor Nikiforov)