Hot in travel: orphaned polar bears find new home, puffins face extinction

This week brought good and bad news for the animal kingdom: a pair of orphaned polar bears cubs found a new home, puffins and turtle doves may face extinction, a new white rhino is hoped to introduce genetic diversity to her species, caracal kittens get outside in Oregon, and twelve panda cubs cause a stir in China.

Two orphaned polar bears find new home in Canada 

A polar bear cub at Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

A polar bear cub at Assiniboine Park Conservancy. Image by Assiniboine Park Conservancy

A pair of polar bear cubs orphaned in Northern Manitoba, Canada, have now moved to a zoo to help ensure their survival.

The cubs arrived at the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. The male cubs are about 11 months old and were brought to the zoo from Churchill, Manitoba.

The community of Churchill is well-known for the many polar bears living in the area and is a frequent tourist stop for those looking for a glimpse of the beautiful creatures.

The cubs’ mother was accidentally killed by a resident trying to scare her away from a building with a cracker shell, according to media reports. A cracker shell is shot from a firearm and makes a lot of noise intended to scare, but not harm, an animal.

A polar bear cub at Assiniboine Conservancy Park.

A polar bear cub at Assiniboine Conservancy Park. Image by Assiniboine Park Conservancy

Polar bears must stay with their mothers for at least two winters while they learn how to hunt or they will likely not survive on their own, according to the zoo.

The cubs will not be under a 30-day quarantine while they acclimatize to the zoo and then will join the zoo’s other seven polar bears.

Watch the video here.

Puffins and turtle doves at risk of extinction

a puffin over the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast. Atlantic puffins, European turtle doves, Slavonian grebes and pochards have been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the latest annual revision of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species for birds.

A puffin over the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast. Atlantic puffins, European turtle doves, Slavonian grebes and pochards have been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the latest annual revision of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species for birds. Image by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Puffins and turtle doves are among four UK bird species now at risk of global extinction, according to a new international assessment.

Atlantic puffins, European turtle doves, Slavonian grebes and pochards have been listed as vulnerable to extinction in the latest annual revision of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species for birds.

It brings the number of UK bird species at risk of global extinction to eight, while another 14 UK species are considered to be "near threatened" - which means further declines in their fortunes could see them under threat of dying out.

Although the Atlantic puffin's populations are still in their millions, breeding failures at key colonies have been worryingly high in recent years, with fewer young birds surviving to breed.

This has led to them being listed as vulnerable to extinction, the lowest of three categories, behind critically endangered and endangered, which denotes a species is at risk of dying out globally.

Declines in turtle dove numbers across Europe of more than 30% in the past 16 years have also made it vulnerable to extinction, with particularly high reductions in the UK - which has lost of nine out 10 birds since the 1970s.

New white rhino brought into to breeding programme in Scotland

Tswane  the Southern white rhino explores her new enclosure  after being   lowered into position using a crane  as she arrives at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling.

Tswane the Southern white rhino explores her new enclosure after being lowered into position using a crane as she arrives at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling. Image by Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Tswane the Southern white rhino arrives at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling in Scotland, where she will join Graham, Dot and Bruce as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.

The transfer, assuming she will breed successfully with Graham, is to increase genetic diversity within the captive insurance population.

With a gestation period of 16 months, it will be at least two years before the eagerly anticipated patter of tiny rhino feet can be heard. Blair Drummond will also be saying farewell to Lucy, a 13-year-old female bred at West Midland Safari Park. Lucy has been at Blair Drummond for the past 3 years, in that time she has failed to show any interest in Graham and is therefore being moved to another collection in France to see if she will breed with a different rhino stud.

Caracal kittens explore the outdoors at the Oregon Zoo 

Six-week old caracals at the Oregon Zoo begin to venture outside.

Six-week old caracals at the Oregon Zoo begin to venture outside. Image by Oregon Zoo

Two new caracal kittens at the Oregon Zoo have started to explore their outside habitat. Read more here.

Six sets of baby panda twins make public debut in China

12 baby pandas debut in China

12 baby pandas debut in China Image by Youtube / CC BY 2.0

Twelve baby giant pandas were debuted to the public on Tuesday in the Sichuan province of China in what was an unexpected glut of cuteness. Read more here.

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