Adorable CCTV footage has shown a mother black bear nursing her four newborn cubs in their first moments at a safari park.
The video was filmed at Woburn Safari Park in the U.K. It shows a female American black bear named Phoenix after she gave birth to four bear cubs at the park in mid-January.
Phoenix can be seen licking the new cubs and feeding them as they roll around in the straw that lines their enclosure.
American black bears are found across much of the U.S., which is home to approximately 850-950,000 of the animals. The bears slow their metabolism down over the winter months, and typically retreat into winter dens. Pregnant bears gestate and give birth to their cubs in their dens. Females in the wild normally have one litter of cubs every other year.
Adult male black bears can weigh up to 600 pounds while females are smaller—typically growing no bigger than 200 pounds.
Woburn Safari Park is home to 12 black bears in total. Phoenix and her new cubs, as well as fellow mother bear Indiana and her cub Denver, are spending their time in manmade dens that mimic those built by pregnant bears in the wild.
The park’s other black bears can be seen roaming around the 10-acre safari park daily. Black bears are excellent climbers and the park said they are frequently showing off their climbing skills in the trees of their 10-acre reservation at the park.
Ben Davies, acting head of carnivores at Woburn, said in statement: “Phoenix is a fantastic mother, and we can see in the CCTV footage that the cubs are behaving as we would expect them to be – sleeping for long periods of time and suckling well. Normally the first glimpse of the cubs we get is when the mother brings them out of the den for the first time, so it’s amazing to be able to view them at such a young age and to see how attentive Phoenix is being via the CCTV camera.”
Black bears generally live in forests and like most bears are omnivorous with a remarkably varied diet. They eat everything from fish and deer to nuts and berries.
Woburn Safari Park said that Phoenix was being fed with extra food including fish, fruit and protein to help her feed her new cubs in their infancy. In the wild, black bear cubs stay with their mothers for around 18 months until the parent is ready to give birth again. The four new cubs are expected to emerge from their den in April, the park said.
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