By Josh Saunders
The adorable moment that a polar bear cub plays in icy puddles for the first time has been captured in heart-warming footage.
This curious cub doesn’t PAWS before going for its first splash in melt ponds on the Franz Josef Archipelago near the North Pole.
It’s believed the mother and cub, who is under a year old, left their den three-months-ago and now the excitable marine mammal can’t wait to explore.
Lauren Farmer, 34, was on Poseidon Expeditions, when she saw the cub investigating the mysterious puddles by pouncing, paddling and even trying to eat the ice, before drying-off on a chilly rug of snow.
During her 12-day trip to the north pole, she had numerous polar bear encounters but claimed this topped the lot.
Lauren from San Juan Islands in Washington, USA, said: “The cub was so curious about melt ponds, which are puddles of water and is how the arctic melts during summer.
“I had seen cubs before but never that young and so curious, most tend to stay very close to the mother and don’t have the confidence to veer off.
“But this one was diving into a pond, not knowing how deep it would be, it was unusual, yet endearing.
“It must have been an exciting experience with it being the cub’s first time in melt ponds it was thrilled and definitely jumped into as many puddles as it could.
“After it would fall over onto the snow to dry off.
“This was by far the best encounter and the youngest cub I have seen, we were all pretty psyched after.”
The Franz Josef is the world’s northernmost location and has a polar bear population estimated at 2,650 in 2004.
The archipelago consists of 191 islands, hosting vast wildlife including Atlantic walruses, minke whales, humpback whales, beluga whales. orcas, narwhals and more.
Lauren added:”The area is known for having a lot of polar bears, they roam free you never know where they are going to be.
“We have a lot of luck with great bear encounters, while observing from the ship we were lucky to see this mother and cub.
“Generally, mothers have two cubs, sometimes three, so this leads us to believe this little one lost a brother or sister, which could have been down to any number of reasons.
“But the mother seemed really comfortable with the cub running off on its own, some are really protective and when they see a ship run in the other direction but not this pair.”
Poseidon Expeditions, who hire the second largest icebreaker in the world, take visitors to the north pole over a two-month period each year.
The Russian nuclear-powered vessel named ’50 Let Pobedy’, which translates to ’50 Years of Victory’, spends the rest of the year breaking ships free from ice.
Lauren said: “We had very good bear spotters, which is a tough job as you’re looking for white on white and can easily be fooled by dirty ice or pressure ridges.
“The key to finding bears is colour, the size and whether there is movement, if it’s not moved in half an hour it’s not a bear.
“Since putting the video together, I have watched so many times, it always brings such a big smile to my face.
“There’s so much negativity in the world so it’s nice seeing a cute video of an animal playing.”
You can follow her travels on here.