Polar Cub to Leave Local Zoo
Lomonosov, who was born a year ago, is to go and live at the Yakutsk zoo with a female polar bear cub of his own age.
Published: December 19, 2012 (Issue # 1740)
The polar bear cub born in the Leningrad Zoo last year will leave his mother for Yakutsk, the capital of Russia’s Sakha republic on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
The cub was born in November 2011 into the zoo’s polar bear family of Uslada and her mate Menshikov. The cub was introduced to the public in May, when a competition was held among visitors to the zoo to name the cub. He was given the name Lomonosov in honor of the great Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, as in November 2011, when the bear cub came into the world, the country marked the 300th anniversary of the scientist’s birth.
The birth of a new polar bear is a much anticipated event for zoos all over the world, as the bears are an endangered species due to global warming. Many zoos do not see the regular births of polar cubs, but the Leningrad Zoo couple reproduces faithfully every two years. Lomonosov is Uslada and Menshikov’s 15th cub, and the zoo has been the leader in polar bear breeding since the 1930s. However, the zoo, whose emblem is a polar bear, cannot afford to keep more bears.
“Our conditions make it possible to look after only two polar bears properly,” said Svetlana Shelgunova, head of the wild mammals department at the Leningrad Zoo. “A year later we would have to separate the cub from his mother and we do not have the opportunity to keep another polar bear in the necessary conditions.”
A new enclosure for polar bears has been built at the Yakutsk republic zoo. There is already one inhabitant — a female polar bear cub of the same age as Lomonosov.
“These are the main factors that influenced the decision to send Lomonosov to this zoo,” said Shelgunova. “Our polar bear cubs now live in various locations: Moscow, Novosibirsk, [the Estonian capital of] Tallinn, the Czech city of Brno, Australia, China, Japan and Korea,” she added.
“The bear is being sent there on a temporary basis for reproduction. If the couple get along well together, Lomonosov will most probably stay there. But he still belongs to the Leningrad Zoo,” she said.
The bear is due to leave his home on Wednesday morning and be transported in a specialized zoo vehicle to Moscow.
“On the evening of Dec. 29, the polar bear cub will fly directly to Yakutsk accompanied by a zoo worker, where they will be met by colleagues from the local zoo,” said Shelgunova.