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5,000 polar bears expected to be born around New Year's
by Staff Writers
Moscow (UPI) Dec 28, 2013


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature says about 5,000 polar bears are expected to be born in the Arctic around New Year's.

New Year's is the time of year when polar bears give birth in the Arctic, RIA Novosti reported.

Every year on Dec. 29, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature celebrates a polar bear birthday to mark the period between December and January when polar bear cubs are born. The organization started the practice in 2007.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 polar bears live in the Russian Arctic, and there are about 20,000 to 25,000 worldwide, said Russia's natural resources minister, Sergei Donskoi.

"Unfortunately, little is known about how many polar bears are in Russia, because a comprehensive study of only one [of the three] major group requires ... millions of dollars," said Viktor Nikiforov, of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature's Russian branch.

Giant panda in Thailand pregnant, says zoo
Bangkok (AFP) Dec 29, 2013 - A zoo in northern Thailand said Sunday that it was preparing for the birth of a second giant panda in the New Year thanks to artificial insemination.

Chiang Mai Zoo said 12-year-old Lin Hui, who along with her partner Chuang Chuang is on loan from China, was due to deliver a cub by January.

"She is being carefully monitored. We are quite excited," said an official at the zoo.

Thailand's famously celibate giant pandas produced a first cub in 2009, after artificial insemination succeeded where attempts to get them to mate using pornography and low-carb diets failed.

The female cub, named Linping, became so popular that she was even given her own 24-hour live panda channel.

She was sent to China for a year in September to mate.

Giant pandas, notorious for their low sex drive, are among the world's most endangered animals.

Fewer than 1,600 pandas remain in the wild, mainly in China's Sichuan province, with a further 300 in captivity around the world.

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Final amnestied foreign Greenpeace activist leaves Russia
Saint Petersburg (AFP) Dec 29, 2013
The last of the 26 foreign Greenpeace activists who were detained after an Arctic protest left Russia on Sunday, the group announced, finally ending a saga that had caused global concern. Polish national Tomasz Dziemianczuk, 37, flew out from Saint Petersburg to Warsaw, Greenpeace said in a statement, following 25 other foreign activists who had all left by Saturday following a Kremlin amnes ... read more


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