VIDEO: Surprise! It's 3 baby bear cubs
A trio of adorable North American black bear cubs has been born at Woburn Safari Park.
The cubs are the first to be born at the Bedfordshire park in 18 years and Woburn is the only place in the UK that the public can see North American black bears.
Keepers knew they were about to welcome at least one cub, as they’d heard calls to mum coming from inside a large den in an oak tree, but mother bear, four-year old Phoenix had a delightful surprise for keepers - in triplicate!
The as-yet unsexed cubs were first spotted by keepers when they ventured outside on sunny Easter Sunday morning.
Phoenix had made them comfortable inside the hollow centre of a large oak tree, until they were strong enough to climb out. However, as their birthing den was only accessible by climbing 6ft up the tree, the cubs were unable to climb back inside when the weather turned nasty.
Keepers made sure mum and cubs were comfortably settled into an alternative ground-level den, in an enclosed half-acre pen, which can be seen from the Road Safari drive-through route.
Craig Lancaster, acting head of carnivores at the park, said: “After hearing cries and noticing that mum had been suckling, we were sure that we had at least one cub - we were thrilled and surprised to discover three!
“The new arrivals are developing well and have been behaving like typical young babies – sleeping for long periods of time, playing together and suckling. We’ll keep an eye on the cubs for the initial weeks while leaving them alone to bond with mum.”
Visitors to the park will be able to see the cubs climbing and exploring their home as they grow.
They will remain in the pen with mum until they are big enough to meet the other residents of their parkland home; 12-year old dad Xanthos, eight other black bears and four Canadian Timber wolves.
Keepers are providing the cubs with extra straw to keep them warm and mum is being given plenty of extra fish, fruit and protein to help maintain her strength, as she will be feeding her three adorable cubs for up to a year.
For more information about Woburn Safari Park, visit www.woburnsafari.co.uk/news