Berlin zoo’s polar bear cub was born to siblings



A clerical error meant {that a} feminine polar bear, Tonja, born at Moscow Zoo, was listed because the daughter of the fallacious dad and mom, a spokeswoman for Tierpark Berlin instructed CNN on Wednesday.

Tonja was assigned paperwork meant for an additional feminine polar bear born at Moscow Zoo two days later, however the truth is she was the offspring of the identical dad and mom as Wolodja, a male polar bear with whom she later mated in Berlin. The pair produced child Hertha, who was born in December 2018.

Suspicions had been raised when paperwork had been discovered at Moscow Zoo that listed a special start date for Tonja, and genetic testing has since confirmed she and Wolodja are siblings.

“That was an enormous shock for us,” the spokeswoman mentioned, including that Moscow Zoo had been very clear and knowledgeable its counterparts in Berlin when the paperwork had been discovered.

“There was one unlucky mistake,” she mentioned.

The bears are a part of the European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP) breeding program for polar bears, which works to keep up the genetic range of polar bears in captivity.

Inbreeding reduces genetic range, which is “a vital issue within the long-term survival of species,” in response to the European Affiliation of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).

Hertha in January 2020

“This severe mistake is a really regrettable setback for the accountable work of the European Conservation Breeding Programme,” Berlin Zoo’s director, Andreas Knieriem, mentioned in a press release.

“It should now be a matter of studying from such errors and placing our work in all areas much more on a scientific foundation.”

This type of mix-up will not be prone to occur once more, as it’s unlikely there shall be two breeding pairs on the similar zoo, the spokeswoman mentioned. As well as, each animal born at Berlin Zoo is given a microchip containing figuring out data, together with who its dad and mom are.

Within the mild of the invention, neither Tonja nor Hertha may have any offspring for the foreseeable future as a result of their household lineage is healthier represented within the captive polar bear inhabitants than beforehand thought, the spokeswoman mentioned.

Nevertheless, there’s a likelihood that each bears shall be bred sooner or later, she added.

4-month-old Fritz, the beloved Berlin zoo polar bear, dies

“Our mission is to maintain the genetic range as large as potential,” mentioned the spokeswoman.

Hertha is a “glad and wholesome bear” who will stay on the zoo alongside together with her mom, she added. Wolodja has already moved to a special zoo within the Netherlands.

Tonja additionally gave start to a child named Fritz in November 2016, however he died of liver irritation in March 2017. Fritz was additionally fathered by Wolodja, however consultants have mentioned it is extremely unlikely that inbreeding was liable for his demise, the spokeswoman mentioned.

Polar bears are listed as susceptible by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which estimates that there are 22,000-31,000 left within the wild.

UK marketing campaign group Bear Conservation estimates that there are greater than 300 polar bears in captivity around the globe.


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