SCOTLAND has welcomed the “pitter patter of tiny paws” after a polar bear in a Highland wildlife park gave birth to a cub.

Mum Victoria gave birth to her second cub earlier this week after mating with dad Arktos during the breeding season in February.

The cub is about a foot long and the weight of a guinea pig.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs the park in the Cairngorms, said staff were delighted when they first heard the distinct high-pitched cub sounds coming from the den on Tuesday.

In footage released by RZSS, the new cub can be seen cuddling with his mum.

RZSS spokesperson Vickie Larkin, carnivore team leader at Highland Wildlife Park, said: “This is a tremendous occasion which is a testament to our team’s hard-work.

“While we are excited about the new arrival, we are not celebrating quite yet as the first few weeks of a polar bear’s life is critical, with potential immune system complications and mum’s need for privacy during this time our top priority.”

Arktos and Victoria’s previous cub, Hamish, was the UK’s first polar bear cub in 25 years, when he was born in December 2017.

Victoria was born in 1996 at Rostock Zoo in Germany.

As part of the breeding programme for the species, Hamish moved to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in November 2020.

Larkin added: “Victoria is a very attentive mother and we’re pleased to say they are both doing well so far.

“We will not know if the little one is a boy or girl until we are able to perform health checks in the spring and they will be named shortly after.

“Polar bears are born blind and do not open their eyes until they are a month old.”

Public viewing is currently closed to give Victoria and her youngster peace and quiet but Arktos and Walker, the park’s other male polar bear, can still be spotted in their enclosure.