The purrs and soft cries of new animal life have accompanied the usual sights and sounds of spring at the Ähtäri zoo. This year, young wolverine, bear and snow leopard cubs have become part of the live animal exhibit, with young reindeer and forest deer also set to make an appearance soon.
While the snow leopard cubs will remain close to their mother’s flanks until August, the older bear cubs are already endearing visitors with their tumbling, climbing, wrestling and general pup-like rambunctiousness.
“The bear cubs already dare to climb trees and even soon came out of their den following their mother. They can go up very easily, but then the problem is how to get down. However, practice makes perfect. But they were ready to climb almost as soon as they were on their feet,” said zookeeper Mauno Seppäkoski.
Master of balance
The bear cubs’ three-year old siblings already have a good command of the climbing skills required to navigate to the top of a pole many metres high – an impressive achievement for such heavy animals.
“The bear is a master of balance. It can even rise up on its hind legs and stand straight up on a tree. And it doesn’t even matter if the tree is swaying. It’s a master balancer. Of course they’ve had accidents sometimes, but this has been quite rare,” Seppäkoski said.
This spring three new wolverine cubs opened their eyes to the world. The female last gave birth four years ago. Because wolverine cubs are so rare, the cubs are in high demand. All three of the new cubs have already been pledged to homes in other zoos abroad.