This adorable little floofer with a dangerous case of wanderlust has been found roaming nearly 450 miles south of her natural habitat in the Arctic.
A polar bear, believed to be just nine months old, has travelled a remarkable 700 kilometres south of the icy tundra and taken up residence in the autumnal wilds by the Kolyma River in north-eastern Siberia.
Locals named her Umka, after feeding her from their throwaway fishing hauls, and the cub has befriended both the people and their pooches. The things she must have seen!
Although the Kolyma region has a subarctic climate with very cold winters lasting up to six months of the year, covered in permafrost, the little polar bear looks more than a little lost amid the green and brown lush foliage.
Experts presume she lost her mother for unknown reasons but are genuinely puzzled how she came to be so far away from her natural territory.
It is not clear whether her wandering have any relation to the ongoing destruction of the polar ice caps at the hands of climate change and global warming.
Umka, who will now probably be renamed, is too young to be released alone into the wild and has had too much contact with the indigenous people to survive on her own. Yet this only adds to the mystery of how she came this far south.
One theory is that her mother was killed by poachers and they took the orphaned cub live with them south from the Arctic coast, releasing her when she got too large.
But there is no evidence for the fate of the mother. Now a rescue mission is underway to ensure the cub’s safety, so far away from home.
The rescue team was led by the head of the Central Kolyma Inspectorate for Nature Protection, Ivan Belonogov, who said she would now go to Yakutsk zoo Orto Doidu.
Belonogov told The Siberian Times:
The cub is not afraid of people, since the fishermen who found the bear fed her with fish. For now the condition of the cub is satisfactory, her appetite is good.
The cub has to be tranquillised and transported in a crate via river to nearby Srednekolymsk, and will sadly be taken into captivity for her own safety; an unfortunate but necessary solution.
The little lost cub has since proved quite a hit online, with many admiring her intrepid nature, and her cute little nose, and musing over the mystery of how she managed to travel 700 kilometres alone.
During the Pleistocene era, the ecology of the Kolyma region was quite different to its modern environment, with the extinct wooly mammoth and the wooly rhinoceros present. Interestingly, the polar bear most likely evolved here.
Maybe she was just heading back to her roots on a early-life gap year adventure to try and find herself.