The young polar bear cub at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park has begun investigating some of the new features outside its cubbing den.
Keepers recently placed a paddling pool near the den to help the new arrival get familiar and more confident with water, preparing the cub for venturing near the main pool in the outdoor enclosure.
Victoria and her cub are still spending a lot of time in and around the den with short spells in their outdoor enclosure.
READ MORE: In pictures: Polar bear cub born in Highlands makes first appearance
The cub will be named in coming weeks as staff are still working to determine its sex. It was born in the week before Christmas with mum Victoria - the UK’s only female - having mated with Arktos, one of two male polar bears at the park. Born blind and initially weighing little more than a guinea pig, the cub is now able to see and is the size of a small dog. It has been feeding on mum Victoria’s fat-rich milk since being born.
Douglas Richardson, the park’s head of living collections, said: “Our pioneering captive polar bear management programme closely mirrors what happens in the wild and this birth shows our approach is working.
“This is vital because a healthy and robust captive population may one day be needed to augment numbers in the wild, such are the threats to the species from climate change and human pressures.
“The reintroduction of polar bears would be an enormous task but we need to have the option.
“While our cub will never be in the wild, there is a chance its offspring may be in decades to come.”
Visit RZSS Highland Wildlife Park’s website for more information on tickets and opening times.