10/12/2011 07:45 EDT | Updated 12/12/2011 05:12 EST

Polar Bear Cubs: Toronto Zoo Trying To Save Pair After Being Rejected By Mother


TORONTO - The Toronto Zoo says staff are working to save two surviving polar bear cubs that have been rejected by their mother.

The zoo says a 10-year-old polar bear named Aurora prematurely gave birth to three cubs — two males and a female — on Tuesday night.

When the cubs were rejected by the mother, zoo staff intervened and moved the two surviving cubs to an intensive care unit.

The cubs are receiving round-the-clock care from zoo veterinarians and wildlife care staff.

They will be hand-raised and zoo officials say they're hopeful that they will get stronger but they were far from being out of the woods on Wednesday evening.

Polar bears typically give birth in late November and in December and the zoo says this birth is likely the earliest recorded birth of polar bears in captivity.

The Toronto Zoo is involved in a collaborative research project involving multiple zoos to understand polar bear reproductive biology.