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Polar bear cub makes first splash in outdoor pool

The youngster is yet to be given a name as keepers have been unable to work out its gender.

The UK’s only polar bear born in the last 25 years has taken a swim in a large outdoor pool for the first time, with its mother there to help it along.

The youngster, based at a special enclosure in the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie, seemed to enjoy having a splash about in the water.

The cub, which is nearly three-and-a-half months old, is growing in size and confidence, increasingly venturing a bit further away from mother Victoria when they are outside.

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Tentatively taking its first steps into the water (Kevin Blackband/RZSS)

The gender of the unnamed cub is not yet known, however keepers expect they will find this out within the next two months when they have had a chance to give it an examination.

A list of names has been drawn up by those at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s park, but this remains top secret.

The cub’s growth in confidence has continued since first being let out of its indoor enclosure towards the end of March.

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Time to come out of the pool (Kevin Blackband/PA)

The mother had been in her maternity den for four months before taking her cub outside.

It was born in the week before Christmas, with Victoria having mated with Arktos, one of two male polar bears at the park.

The birth of the youngster in December was confirmed by high-pitched noises coming from inside the den.

Despite becoming more adventurous, the cub still needs regular naps throughout the day, so they are both still spending a lot of time in and around their base.

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Swimming can be tiring work for the cub (Kevin Blackband/RZSS)

It is expected to stay with its mother for at least two years.

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