• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Delight as Munich zoo polar bear has twins

DPA/The Local · 11 Dec 2013, 11:54

Published: 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 news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Raging ticket controller seizes Chinese traveler's passport
File photo of a plainclothes ticket controller. Photo: DPA.

Germany's national rail operator is in hot water after a ticket controller reacted aggressively to a newly arrived Chinese traveler who made one of the most basic transit mistakes: forgetting to stamp her ticket.

Berlin politician crusades for health of skateboarding dog
File photo: DPA

Can a canine enjoy skateboarding? That's the question Berlin politicians are struggling to address in a row over a dog on four wheels.

Police hunt Brits who Hitler-saluted in concentration camp
Buchenwald. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Germany are searching for two British men who took a picture of themselves performing a Nazi salute in a torture chamber in Buchenwald concentration camp.

Far-right tries to lure voters with own-brand gummy bears

Germany's far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have come up with an unusual marketing strategy on their website.

How your boss can still pay lower than the minimum wage
A protest in front of the Chancellery in 2013. Photo: DPA

German workers are disappointed about the first-ever court ruling on the country's year-old minimum wage law.

'Shit show' Berlin airport
Plan to open Berlin airport in 2017 finally (inevitably) dead
Passengers won't be walking beneath Willy Brandt's name in lights any time soon. Photo: DPA

Travellers are set to wait still longer for Berlin's much-delayed new airport to open, as city media report that a provisional opening date in late 2017 is no longer achievable.

Hero bin man saves child from 2nd storey plunge
Bogdan W. (r) with four-year-old Eden. Photo: DPA

A young boy had a miraculous rescue in western Germany on Wednesday when a bin man happened to see him hanging from the window ledge and managed to catch him just in time.

Church hides refugees from state in Bavarian beauty spot
The view near Tutzing on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

The Catholic Church in southern Bavaria is offering religious asylum to refugees who fled Isis, and who the state now wants to deport.

German firm fights years-long battle to crack Rubik's Cube
Photo: DPA

A German toy manufacturer is nearing success in its long battle to be able to make a Rubik's Cube all of its own.

The Local List
13 (even more) thrilling facts you must know about Berlin
Berlin, du bist so wunderbar. Photo: DPA.

Berlin is just so gosh darn interesting, we couldn't fit it all into the first list on our website of infinite virtual space.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,858
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd