National Geographic Society Newsroom

“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...

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.

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Meet the Author

Stefan Sirucek
Stefan Sirucek is a writer and journalist who reports from both sides of the Atlantic. He's written for the Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal. Follow him on Twitter at @sirstefan.