He will turn just two months old this week, and already the baby polar bear cub born in early November at the Toronto Zoo has taken his first steps, the Toronto Star reports. He is the only surviving member of polar bear Aurora's litter of three.
Yet to be named, the little cub, who weighs just 4.4kg, has also begun teething as his molars and incisors begin to grow in, is learning to drink milk from a dish and has shown signs of playfulness, as his eyes are now fully opened. He can focus on his surroundings and enjoys chewing objects such as his blanket, having been out of the incubator for a month as he adjusts to cooler temperatures.
While the cub was the only member of Aurora's litter to survive, he has a brother named Hudson who lives at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo. When he was born, Aurora rejected him and the rest of the litter, as she has a history of rejecting and even attacking her babies, so the wildlife center has taken on the role of caring for the little polar bear. It is common for polar bear cubs not to survive the first three months after birth, but the cub is responding well in the center's care.
"We are very happy with his progress so far," Dr. Graham Crawshaw, senior veterinarian at the Toronto Zoo, told the Star. "We hope that he will grow up to become another ambassador for his species, highlighting threats to the arctic environment."
Click here to see a photo of the polar bear cub one month after coming out of the incubator.