Giovanna, the polar bear, becomes a mum again!

Three years after the birth of twins at Hellabrunn, the zoo welcomes the birth of yet another polar bear baby. At 3:06 pm, on 21 November, the female polar bear Giovanna gave birth to a healthy cub. 

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn

Giovanna, the polar bear, has given birth again! Following the departure of the polar bear twins Nela and Nobby from Hellabrunn at the beginning of the year, visitors can celebrate the news of the birth and look forward to meeting the latest new arrival in the New Year. The newborn cub is in good health and mum Giovanna cares lovingly for her little one. The father of the latest offspring is again the 17-year-old Yoghi. The birth at Hellabrunn represents only the second polar bear birth in Germany this year, after the birth of a cub at Tierpark Berlin.

In their natural habitat, pregnant female polar bears dig a den in a snowdrift, which provides shelter for giving birth and protecting their vulnerable newborn. At Hellabrunn, the ten-year-old Giovanna also has a birthing den, where she has retreated since the beginning of the autumn. Following this, the zookeepers were curious to find out if another cub would be born in the Polar World this year. Zoo curator Beatrix Köhler also monitored Giovanna's behaviour via a video stream from the birthing den: "On the afternoon of 21 November, it became apparent that Giovanna was in labour. Unlike the birth of the twins Nela and Nobby, which could be clearly watched via video link, Giovanna gave birth to her third cub in a sitting position, so that the actual birth could not be seen."

The newborn cub is getting bigger and more active with each passing day. Giovanna keeps her little baby warm by holding it either at her neck or between her paws. "One can clearly see that Giovanna is an experienced mum. She handles her offspring with loving care and regularly checks to make sure everything is okay," explains Beatrix Köhler. In the coming weeks, Giovanna will not let the baby out of her sight and will only get up to drink water.

The cute little cub currently weighs about 600 grams and is approximately 20 cm tall. However the sex of the newborn cannot yet be determined. Without siblings to compete with, the new arrival is expected to grow quickly in size and weight thanks to its mother's milk. The cub’s eyes will only open for the first time after about four and a half weeks.

Christine Strobl, Mayor and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Hellabrunn Zoo, is extremely delighted: "The birth of another polar bear cub is a wonderful success for the zoo and represents a significant development in the conservation of this endangered species."

It may take some time before visitors will be able to see the newborn polar bear cub in the outdoor enclosure. The cub is expected to emerge for the first time towards the end of winter when it is strong enough to step outside. As with the twins Nela and Nobby, dad Yoghi will not play a part in raising the new cub. Female polar bears do not allow the male near their young as polar bear fathers may see their own offspring as potential prey.

Important information for visitors: The newborn polar bear cub will not be on view before the end of winter. A video link of the birthing den will be available in the Species Conservation Center from the middle of next week.

About the polar bears at Hellabrunn Zoo:


Born 28 November 2006 in Fasano, Italy
At Hellabrunn Zoo since 2008,
2009 - 2010 Giovanna lived at Zoo Berlin, where she was Knut's first playmate


Born 29 November 1999 in Pistoia, Italy
At Hellabrunn Zoo since 2010
Since then Yoghi has been living together with Giovanna as a harmonious couple.