Heartwarming footage of Scotland's new polar bear

Footage of the first polar bear to be born in the UK in 25 years has emerged from the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig.

The cub, which was born in December, can be seen frolicking around its home in the Scottish highlands alongside its mother, Victoria.

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The cub's first venture around its enclosure was caught on cameras set up by STV productions, as part of a two year project documenting the breeding and the birth of the cub.

The footage will be featured in Channel 4 documentary Britain's Polar Bear Club which airs on March 18 at 7pm.

Enclosure closed till late March

The cub remains nameless as zookeepers at the Cairngorm sanctuary attempt to determine the sex of the newborn.

The mother and child will also remain out of the public eye until late March, in order to allow the pair some privacy. In the meantime, the cub's father, Arktos, can be viewed in his own private enclosure.

Una Richardson, head keeper for carnivores, explains how the young bear made their first appearance.

“Victoria had started to come outside by herself for short periods to eat, drink and roll around in the snow, so we knew her cub would soon follow her but we couldn’t be sure when.

“I was visiting Victoria on Sunday morning to check she had fresh water and to continue slowly reintroducing food to her diet, after four months during which she lived solely off the fat reserves she built up before she entered her den.

“Suddenly I saw a small, fluffy bundle next to her and had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t seeing things. It was a very special experience and one I’ll never forget.

"We also have motion-sensitive cameras safely positioned near Victoria’s den and we were delighted to see we had captured her cub’s first few steps outside."

The first polar bear born in the UK for 25 years

The young and fluffy polar bear's birth came as good news to conservationists around the country who have tried and failed to breed polar bears for a quarter of a century.

Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at the Highland Wildlife Park admitted relief that their breeding programme had proven effective.

“We are thrilled with the birth and rearing of a polar bear cub for the first time in the UK for a quarter of a century.

During the video, the newborn can be seen cuddling its mother - and taking a couple of tumbles (Photo: Channel 4)

“The birth goes a long way to confirming that our husbandry regime works, with polar bears managed in markedly different ways to many other zoos. This includes having very large, natural enclosures and keeping the sexes in separate parts of the park, which more closely mirrors what happens in the wild."

In response to critics, who question the need to breed the colossal carnivores in zoos he stated: “The change in the Arctic climate, specifically the shortening of the ice season, coupled with more direct human pressures, is having a noticeably detrimental effect on the species that is likely to result in many of the wild sub-populations disappearing."

Britain’s Polar Bear Cub will be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday 18 March at 7pm.