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December 2000

Polar Bears
Cub in a Tub


This orphaned polar bear cub was adopted by members of a 1905 Arctic expedition after they shot its mother, who had been circling their boat in search of food. “We lassoed the cub and brought it to the ship,” recounted expedition leader W.S. Champ in our January 1906 issue. But the little bear was frantic. “I was going down the gangway when the thought struck me. If I can get the skin of the mother to this cub, possibly it will quiet her.” The older bear’s pelt was fetched, and the cub, which turned out to be male, was comforted. He was caged for the rest of the journey—except at bath time—and sent to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., where he lived until his death in 1936.

This photograph has never before been published in the magazine.

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To send this image as a postcard click here. Photograph by Anthony Fiala