Brown bear cubs 2020

At the beginning of January, three brown bear cubs were born in Scandinavian Wildlife Park.

All winter long we have been listening intently at the brown bear dens. We knew that our two young females, Bjørk and Barba, had been mated last spring. But we do not have a camera installed in the birthing den, so we could not see what was going on down there. We therefore stood outside the enclosure and listened as best we could.

The bear cubs were discovered

One weekend in early January, we finally managed to hear some unmistakable sounds of one to several bear cubs in the den. But because we couldn’t see how many there were or how it was going, we have been waiting to tell you for a long time!

We kept hearing sounds down from the cave, but we couldn’t be sure until Bjørk and Barba decided to leave the cave with the cubs. That happened last week. Suddenly three little bear cubs appeared on the doorstep, and we now we can finally tell you all about the little wonders.

Who is my mother?

Bjørk and Barba are twin sisters and they are very close. They have therefore spend the winter in the same den. We can therefore not tell if it’s Bjørk or Barbas cubs, or even both of theirs. However, we can see that one of the cubs is slightly smaller than the others and it may have been born a week or two later. This may indicate that it is both females that have given birth.

We have taken some hair samples from all the cubs for the purpose of doing a DNA test so we can find out who is the mother of whom.

Hair samples and microchips

In order to take hair samples for DNA testing and give the cubs a microchip, we have had to handle them. This was done with the mothers securely locked in the stable and we then could go in and take cubs out of the den one at a time. Doing it at this point when they are this small means that we can easily handle them without having to anesthetize them.

It is the only time we handle the cubs, and both mothers and cubs took it really well. Both mothers sat quietly inside the stable, waiting to be let out again. When the kids were checked and chipped, we let Bjørk and Barba out again, and they immediately went back to taking care of their cubs.

Of course, now that we handled the cubs, we also checked out their sex and they are all three males.

See a video of the cubs

Here we micro-chip and check the cubs. It may look a little bit rough, and the cubs most certainly doesn’t enjoy it, but we need to microchip the cubs, and we only do it this one time.