Berit the polar bear getting fresh chance at pregnancy, Vilas Zoo officials say

April 24, 2019 GMT

The Henry Vilas Zoo is hoping for polar bear cubs later this year, if a three-zoo partnership bears fruit.

Berit, the female polar bear at the zoo in Madison, is to be artificially inseminated with semen from Hudson, a male polar bear at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, only this time the semen will be fresh, not frozen, which zoo officials believe is the first time fresh semen will be used in the process.

The third zoo involved in the project is the Cincinnati Zoo, providing hormones to Berit and training her for successful denning (sheltering) of offspring.

Officials say by using fresh semen, the chances of a successful fertilization should improve.

To date, artificial insemination has not been successful in polar bears.

The Vilas Zoo did attempt to use semen to artificially inseminate Berit from a polar bear who had died about two years ago, but the procedure didn’t work.

The project is being done this week as part of Earth Week.

The Vilas Zoo has a male polar bear, Nuniq, but he is too young to breed.