Polar Bears Return from Maternity Mission

SeaWorld's female polar bears spent the last five months in Pittsburgh for a breeding visit

SeaWorld’s two polar bears have returned to sunny San Diego after a cross-country maternity mission.

For past five months, females Szenja and Snowflake have been spending some time mating with male bear Koda at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

The Pennsylvania sites have a cooperative breeding agreement with SeaWorld San Diego to try to get the threatened polar bear species thriving.

To say "welcome home," the bears’ caretakers wrote a message in cream cheese on the artic-themed habitat’s window for the animals to lick off, and the humans hid treats in the caves for the bears to discover.

Now that they’re back in their familiar surroundings, caretakers are eagerly watching the 18-year-old bears, crossing their fingers for any signs of pregnancy.

The veterinarians will keep an eye on their hormone levels, and they should know later this fall or winter if the breeding was a success, SeaWorld says.

Unfortunately, Szenja’s time with Koda last year did not result in any cubs, but if this latest attempt leads to a pregnancy, SeaWorld hopes they could see some new cubs by the end of the year.

A polar bear’s pregnancy lasts between 195 and 265 days, and a typical litter includes one to three cubs that each measure between a foot and 14 inches, weighing about a pound, the park says.

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