A hidden camera has shown a three-month-old polar bear cub taking its first steps towards a public debut at Sea World on Queensland’s Gold Coast after leaving its maternity den.
The yet-to-be-named cub is seen exploring a specially designed enclosure dubbed “cub kindy” under the watchful eye of her mother, Liya.
Sea World described the area, which is not open to the public, as a place for the cub to develop its life skills and explore new substrates such as shaved ice before moving into the main exhibit.
The now 20-kilogram bear has been rolling on the ice, playing with a toy ball, and taste-testing solids foods for the first time since its birth in April.
Sea World director of marine sciences Trevor Long said the cub was becoming more inquisitive and playful each day, and that cub kindy would play an integral part in its development.
“The first time the cub saw cub kindy, she was a little nervous, but after watching and learning from mum her confidence grew and she began to dig, run and play in the ice and is now starting to spend more time out there,” Dr Long said.
“She is continuing to grow significantly in size and is now starting to interact with solid foods including fish, meat and pork and it won’t be long until she makes her public debut.”
Next month, the cub will be introduced to “cub preschool” – a bigger outdoor area that will have a rock pool so she can learn to swim.
Sea World said the cub could be out in the Polar Shores exhibition as early as mid-August, but ultimately mother Liya would make the final call.
Two female polar bear cubs were born to the park’s Liya in late April.
However, the smallest cub died a fortnight later.