Hello World! Polar bear cub opens its eyes for the first time

Last month, Giovanna, the polar bear, gave birth to a healthy cub - her third offspring after bearing twins in December 2013. Now the little cub has just opened its eyes for the first time!

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn

As 2016 draws to an end, exciting news awaits from the polar bear mothering den at Hellabrunn Zoo: The recently born cub has just opened its eyes for the first time and will now be able to discover the world in a whole new way. However, for the time being, the little cub will use its newly acquired sight to get to know its mum better and the 3-room mothering den where it currently lives - after all, the cub has to learn to crawl, which requires seeing to move around.


"It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to follow the development of our polar bear cub via the CCTV,” says zoo curator and biologist Beatrix Köhler. “Giovanna continues to behave as normal, showing much affection. And the little one is becoming increasingly active, stronger and bigger with each passing day – a sign that all is well."


Giovanna and her cub will remain protected in the mothering den for a few more weeks, without contact with the outside world. They will only be visited by a trusted keeper who will regularly bring Giovanna a small snack such as melon or lettuce. On such visits, the keeper will also check to determine whether the two are all right - by observing mum and cub through a grid. Apart from that, Giovanna only consumes water in the winter months, just like all polar bear mothers in the wild. She receives the water via an automatic dispenser.


Visitor information: Giovanna and her cub are expected to emerge from the mothering den and be on view in the outdoor enclosure for the first time at the end of February.


About Giovanna, the polar bear mum:

Giovanna was born on 28 November 2006 in Fasano, Italy. She came to Hellabrunn in January 2008. During renovation work on the Polar World, Giovanna and Yoghi (the cub’s father, born 29.11.1999 in Pistoia, Italy) spent 2009 and 2010 in Berlin.

There she became Knut’s first playmate. Since 2010, Yoghi and Giovanna have been living together as a harmonious couple at Hellabrunn. Dad Yoghi mated with Giovanna in spring 2016. By the end of the summer, after a period of dormancy of the fertilised egg, the embryo began to grow. After this, the gestation period only lasted eight weeks. At 3:06 pm, on 21 November, Giovanna gave birth to her third offspring. All three of her cubs were born at Hellabrunn Zoo.