Three zoos partner to give Henry Vilas Zoo polar bear chance at having cubs

MADISON, Wis. - In an effort to help the polar bear species, artificial insemination is being done between a male bear at the Brookfield Zoo and Berit, the female polar bear at Dane County's Henry Vilas Zoo.

According to a release, this is under a partnership between Henry Vilas, Brookfield and Cincinnati zoos.

The insemination will be the first time the partnership will be using fresh and not frozen specimen to improve the chance of fertilization.

Berit's future mate, Nuniq, is still too young to breed, so this procedure will give Berit a chance of having cubs this year.

The process uses injections for hormone treatment before the procedure and training for denning behavior. The Cincinnati Zoo provides the hormones and protocol and coordinates the procedures.

The release said artificial insemination has never been successful in polar bears, so a pregnancy would be the first of its kind. 

"The ability to participate in this project has been extremely useful to furthering knowledge that will contribute to reproductive success with polar bears in zoos and the wild in the future," Henry Vilas Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz said.


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