The first polar bear cub born in the UK this century is soon to be given a new home outside Scotland.
Hamish made history when he was born at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie in Inverness-shire, in December 2017.
The cub has shared a large enclosure with his mother Victoria, but has now reached the age when they would separate naturally in the wild.
The move will also allow 23-year-old Victoria to breed again next year and produce another cub, possibly for the last time due to her age.
David Field, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the wildlife park, said Hamish will go to a collection elsewhere in Europe where he can mix with other males.
He said: “There are a number of options, including in the UK.
“Victoria’s biological clock is ticking and the experts who run the polar bear breeding programme would want to breed with her once again.”
Mr Field said both the wildlife park and Edinburgh Zoo face losing some of their animals in order to survive the economic consequences of coronavirus. The charity has already borrowed £5 million to keep going in the short term.
He said: “We are going to have to look at our animals differently – we are going to have to reduce some of our collection, I have no doubt.
But he added the zoo’s giant pandas are “going nowhere in the short term”.
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