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“World First”: Watch Polar Bear Cubs Open Eyes

Warning: If you can’t handle extreme cuteness, you may want to look away.

Twin baby polar bears at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany, have opened their eyes for the first time.

The twin cubs, just five weeks old, have begun to glimpse their mother Giovanna and the rest of the world. (Read more about polar bears in National Geographic magazine.)

The sex of the two cubs is not yet known, but they’re the first polar bears to be born at the zoo since 1993 and the first ever twins. The superlatives don’t end there: According to a statement released by the Hellabrunn Zoo, the moment captured on film is a “world first.”

“Day by day the little ones are becoming more active, bigger and stronger, which is proof that everything is going to plan,” Beatrix Köhler, zoo curator and biologist, said in a press release.

It’s especially happy news because the twin cubs have survived to the critical five-week point: 70 percent of polar bears born in captivity die before this milestone. (Watch a video of a polar bear baby taking its first steps at the Toronto Zoo.)

Germany has had something of a love affair with polar bears in recent years.

When the polar bear named Knut was born at the Berlin Zoo in 2006, he became a national celebrity. When Knut died unexpectedly in 2011, the sad news was reported all over the country. A recent autopsy—the most thorough ever done on an animal—revealed he had encephalitis, a brain disease, according to the Local, an English-language German publication.

But fear not: Polar bear fans around the world now have two fuzzy, blinking new reasons to smile.

Follow Stefan Sirucek on Twitter.


  1. M,J,B,
    October 5, 2014, 2:56 pm

    don’t watch if you cant stand cuteness..awwwwww

  2. Elisabeth
    Munich Germany
    January 20, 2014, 2:19 pm

    wonderful pictures and to ioana the noise theat you think is background noise that are the bearbabys themselves

  3. Michele K
    Northeast Pa
    January 19, 2014, 7:47 am

    In a perfect world it would be great if all animals were wild and not in zoos…but welcome to earth …not perfect…and thanks to ongoing climate changes and loss of polar ice, wild polar bears may be extinct in my childrens’ lifetime ….so to all you people acting all morally outraged because this was filmed in a zoo, you will be thanking God for that zoo and their bears when the wild ones have become extinct.

  4. am
    January 18, 2014, 9:37 pm


  5. becca
    January 18, 2014, 9:23 pm

    So cute !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Monique
    The netherlands
    January 18, 2014, 4:06 pm

    I only see a green screen, but can hear the sounds……

  7. Stefan Sirucek
    January 18, 2014, 12:46 pm

    That’s true Evelyn, Knut was quite a star!

  8. Nadja
    Fort Lauderdale, Fl
    January 18, 2014, 11:46 am

    A zoo is a very stressful environment for cups to grow up. We don’t need to know everything. I saw a piture of a wildlife reservation where people were in a caged in driving truck and the animals were free to roam around in nature. I liked that idea a lot better.

  9. Paul
    January 18, 2014, 11:14 am

    Ah, to be so naïve….Julia…..The cubs are part of a captive breeding programme and neither they or their recent forebears(no pun intended) would have been born without zoos like Hellabrunn Zoo. Programmes like this are doing a lot more to try and ensure the survival of polar bears than you with your petty metaphors. Turn down your central heating, don’t fly/drive anywhere and don’t buy cheap consumer gadgets, that will be a start.

  10. jean
    January 18, 2014, 11:07 am

    Although I do agree with you to let them out into the wild, their food sources are becoming scarse and the ice that they use to walk on to head out for food until spring, melts before they are used to and they get stuck out at sea hungry with no energy to fight the path of melted ice chunks back in. Humans are changing animals natural habitat and depleting animals food sources for our own food or fur… read up on that. . These animals ate safety in the zoo and going forward that Just Might be the case for most animals’ safety due to them being endangered or close to extinct…. if they arent already

  11. Hayley wright
    January 18, 2014, 10:52 am

    This was very cute but…it was also very sad considering they we’re trapped in a cage like that think of you being trapped in your bathroom that is probably what it is like for them.

  12. ioana
    January 18, 2014, 9:49 am

    They are very adorable, but I think that the background noise is very stressfull for them.

  13. Alba Aponte
    January 18, 2014, 9:07 am

    Nice video. First experience for me. Great. Thank you for sharing.

    January 18, 2014, 8:31 am

    So cute! UNBELIVABLE & wonderful work .THANX

  15. Debbie Beracha
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    January 18, 2014, 7:18 am

    I too am very distressed to see a remaining few of the Polar Bears be put in captivity, stuck in a zoo !!! This is very distressing to me.

  16. Yo Menashe
    January 18, 2014, 6:39 am

    I’m still laughing at the Warning Label!

  17. Maryam
    January 18, 2014, 5:37 am

    beautiful. just wish it was a world’s first in their natural wild…. not enclosed 🙁

  18. Tatiana Nazaroff
    January 18, 2014, 4:47 am

    oh thank you for sharing this, I enjoy it so much !!! it is so beautiful !

  19. merhaba
    January 18, 2014, 4:16 am

    cant watch it …

  20. Dimithri
    Colombo, Sri Lanka
    January 18, 2014, 2:54 am

    its so cute . . …

  21. wilson francisco dos santos
    San Paulo( Brasil)
    January 18, 2014, 2:16 am

    Nós Brasileiros gostamos muito de animais tanto feróz como felino pois os animais precisam muito dos povos do mundo inteiro capichê!

  22. Marta
    Warsaw, Poland
    January 18, 2014, 1:45 am

    Cute little ones ♥

  23. Susheel Kushwaha
    New Delhi
    January 17, 2014, 11:19 pm

    So… Cute & Great work…..

  24. ottawasweetie
    January 17, 2014, 10:32 pm

    This is an incredible & wonderful experience to watch. Thank you for sharing it with the world. It’s so pure & raw. I’ve never seen anything that compares to good motherly warmth.

  25. julia
    January 17, 2014, 9:46 pm

    i thought this was going to be some amazing, clever photography and was quite distressed to see a beautiful mother and babies in jail. Please help these amazing beings to freedom.

  26. Rafael Centenera
    January 17, 2014, 9:39 pm

    lol knut <3

  27. ali osama
    January 17, 2014, 9:37 pm

    I like you

  28. Evelyn Pantel
    Chico, CA
    January 17, 2014, 8:54 pm

    Thank you for the video! Delightful. The background noise was rather distracting, though.(If I remember correctly, when Knut died it was reported here in the United States, also, and probably many other countries. Not just within Germany.)