• Germany's news in English

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd