• Germany edition
 
Delight as Munich zoo polar bear has twins
Giovanna cuddling one of her cubs. Photo: Tierpark Hellabrunn/dpa

Delight as Munich zoo polar bear has twins

Published: 11 Dec 2013 11:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Dec 2013 11:54 GMT+01:00

The seven-year-old gave birth to both cubs within an hour at Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo.

The first of the mousey grey twins weighed barely 400g, according to the Münchner Merkur newspaper. Giovanna carefully picked up the blind cub and carried it in her mouth to the neighbouring enclosure.

Less than an hour later she gave birth for the second time. Both births were quick and free of complications.

“A twin pack of polar bears in the lead up to Christmas! A zoo director and his team couldn’t wish for more,” said the zoo’s outgoing director Andreas Knieriem on Tuesday.

“Giovanna’s young are probably the first polar bear cubs in the world whose birth was captured in colour on video,” the zoo said. Up until now there only existed limited black-and-white footage of polar bears giving birth at zoos.

The footage of Giovanna was taken by a surveillance camera in the “Mother and Child House” at Hellabrunn Zoo. Since 2011 Giovanna has been taken to the birthing house on three other occasions but these turned out to be false alarms.

The animal park is now bracing itself for a rush of visitors – similar to the spike in customer numbers that Berlin Zoo experienced when Knut the polar bear was born at the end of 2006.

But Giovanna must take special care of the cubs since polar bears are at a greater risk of dying in their first week than almost any other mammal. And zookeepers must let the mother suckle and care for her young on her own – as she would in the wild.

The cubs’ 14-year-old father Yoghi must wait in another enclosure until the cubs have survived the difficult early period, according to the Merkur. In the wild it is also the case that polar bear mothers avoid their partners until the cubs are fit and healthy.

READ MORE: Hopes for a new Knut as Berlin polar bear arrives

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man sets himself on fire at Israeli embassy
The Israeli Embassy in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Man sets himself on fire at Israeli embassy

A man set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin on Monday night. Police said it was too soon to say whether it was part of a political protest. READ  

Netflix to launch in Germany in September
Laverne Cox, star of Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Photo: EPA/PETER FOLEY

Netflix to launch in Germany in September

Netflix revealed plans on Monday to launch in Germany in September this year, bringing the popular movie and TV streaming service to one of the world’s biggest markets. READ  

Steinmeier: We'll raise pressure on Russia
An armed separatist walks past the bodybags of victims of the MH17 crash. Photo: EPA/IGOR KOVALENKO

Steinmeier: We'll raise pressure on Russia

Germany's foreign minister said Monday the EU will "raise the pressure" on Russia over the Ukraine crisis following the downing of Malaysian flight MH17 with a suspected missile. READ  

No foreigner road toll for German borders?
Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (l) and Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer are fighting over the "foreigner toll". Photo: DPA

No foreigner road toll for German borders?

Bavaria’s interior minister has called for German border regions to be exempt from a controversial project to charge foreigners to use the country’s roads, sparking a row within his own party. READ  

German Jews condemn 'explosion of hate'
Pro-Palestine demonstration in Berlin on July 12th. Photo:DPA

German Jews condemn 'explosion of hate'

The American Jewish Committee in Berlin has filed a complaint with the city's police about anti-Semitic slogans being chanted at pro-Palestine rallies, while Germany's Jewish community on Monday condemned an "explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews". READ  

Aldi founder Karl Albrecht dies aged 94
Karl Albrecht. Photo: Aldi Süd/DPA

Aldi founder Karl Albrecht dies aged 94

UPDATE: Karl Albrecht, who became Germany's richest man by co-founding with his brother Theo the discount supermarket chain Aldi, has died aged 94, the company announced on Monday. READ  

Spy Scandal
Typewriter manufacturers see boom in sales
The secure desk of the future? Photo: DPA

Typewriter manufacturers see boom in sales

German typewriter manufacturers are enjoying a boom in sales following the NSA spying scandal. A German defence manufacturer switched to typewriters last year, while last week a leading politician called for the government to use the old technology. READ  

At least 18 swimmers die during heatwave
Lifeguards try to rescue a man on the beach in Ückeritz in northern Germany on Sunday. Photo: DPA

At least 18 swimmers die during heatwave

UPDATE: A US student and an eight-year-old boy are among at least 18 swimmers to have died since Friday as bathers try to cool off in a heatwave which has brought highs of 36C to Germany. READ  

Tantric massage subject to sex tax - court

Tantric massage subject to sex tax - court

Tantric massages provide sexual pleasure and are subject to the same tax levied on brothels and swinger clubs in a German city, a court ruled on Monday. READ  

JobTalk Germany
Germany lags rivals in innovation rankings
A solar energy control panel. Photo: DPA

Germany lags rivals in innovation rankings

Germany lags its rivals when it comes to innovation, according to global rankings. But in other measures it leads Europe in technological progress. How innovative is the country really? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Joachim Löw: A career in pictures
Photo: Submitted
Society
Is this expat cat the world's oldest?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Germany's week in pictures: July 12th - July 18th
Photo: DPA
National
Heatwave to bring highs of 36C to Germany
Photo: Daniel Biskup
Gallery
Happy 60th Birthday, Chancellor Merkel
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Should Germany follow France and ban the burqa?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Which workers is Germany short of?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
World Cup winners welcomed home - in pictures
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten best expat jobs in Germany: Which one would you choose?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: Shutterstock
Features
Some of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make in German
Photo: obs/AXE Unilever Deutschland
Gallery
The wives and girlfriends of Germany's football stars
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,239
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd