The male cub was born over the winter to mother, Nicole, and father, Bouba. Now weighing 25lbs, the yet-to-be-named cub is ready to venture into the zoo’s bear habitat with mom to start exploring.
Exhibit times will vary until the cub becomes fully acclimated to its outdoor exhibit.
Andean Bears are the only bear species native to South America. They are also known as “Spectacled Bears” due to the markings on their faces that sometimes resemble glasses. They have characteristically short faces and are relatively small in comparison to some other bear species. As adults, males weigh between 250-350 pounds, while adult females rarely exceed 200 pounds.
The Queens Zoo is breeding Andean Bears as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The cub’s sire, Bouba (age six), moved to Queens from a zoo in France to breed with Nicole (age four), who born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC and arrived at the Queens Zoo in 2015. This is the first cub born to this pair. There are currently only 42 bears in AZA accredited zoos and only six potentially viable breeding pairs in the SSP population.
Queens Zoo Director and Animal Curator, Scott Silver, leads the national breeding program as the SSP coordinator. Silver said, “This is a significant birth for the Queens Zoo and the Andean Bear SSP breeding program. This little guy may be adorable, but more importantly he reminds us of what we stand to lose when a species is in danger of extinction. We are excited to introduce the cub to New York and to share the work WCS and our partners are doing to save Andean Bears and many other species in the wild.”
The pair was found trying to survive in the wild without their mother. “Although no one likes the tragic circumstances that lead to the cubs coming here to the Zoo, we are pleased that we can offer a permanent home to these sisters,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “They are being well cared for and we plan to do so for many, many years.”
Photo Credits: The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
The two female cubs originated on Confederated Salish (Say-lish) and Kootenai (Koot-nee) Tribal Lands in Montana. For several days, they were observed foraging by themselves with no mother in attendance. It became obvious that one cub was failing, and the decision was made by the tribal biologist to capture both cubs on Labor Day, September 5, 2016.
“The cubs were taken to a local veterinarian and upon examination, it was discovered that the smaller of the cubs had been shot,” said Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior veterinarian at the Zoo. “Luckily the wounds were not severe and the cub was able to be treated with antibiotics. The cubs, however, were starving having not quite learned how to forage for themselves at such a young age.”
They were moved to The Montana Wildlife Center, in Helena, which rehabilitates orphaned wildlife for the purpose of release back to the wild and is run by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).
“Unfortunately, several weeks after their capture, the failing mother of the cubs was located with severe shotgun wounds to her face and was subsequently euthanized,” said Mike McClure, general curator at the Zoo. “DNA analysis was used to determine that this female grizzly was indeed the mother of the two cubs, who at the time were approximately six-months-old.”
Due to their age, they were not good candidates for rehabilitation and release to the wild, so in early November, Montana FWP put a request to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Bear Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) to assist with finding the cubs a permanent home.
“We learned of the cubs through the AZA Bear TAG and began to make inquiries about the possibility of bringing them to Baltimore,” continued McClure. “While we have not housed Grizzly Bears before, we do have experience with many of the extant species of bear, and staff agreed that we could definitely provide a good home for these two cubs.”
It was determined in late November that the zoo would be the home of the cubs, pending appropriate permits and approvals by zoo personnel. In mid-December, after the appropriate approvals and permits were obtained, Dr. Ellen Bronson and Mike McClure flew to Helena, Montana to complete a health check of the cubs and meet the transporter to prepare for the over-land travel from Helena to Baltimore. Due to severe weather in Montana, they were stranded in Helena for five days before the roads became clear enough to load the bears and begin the long drive to Baltimore. McClure and the bears had a 3-day trek back to Baltimore with the transporter. They arrived at the Zoo late in the evening of December 21, 2016.
The cubs were in quarantine for 30 days at the Zoo Hospital, after which time they were moved to the Polar Bear Watch exhibit to acclimate to their night quarters, the Animal Care staff and their outdoor yards. Just recently Zoo staff has been watching them from the public area to prepare them for their introduction to the public.
“The cubs are probably around 11-months-old and are on permanent loan from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks,” continued McClure. “They are very curious about their outdoor yard, and have spent a lot of time digging up the mulch, rolling in the grasses and exploring the pool. Essentially, they are bear cubs just being bear cubs, which is fascinating to watch. We hope everyone enjoys seeing them and learning about grizzly bears here at the Zoo.”
After 14 weeks snuggling with her mother in the birthing den, a big day arrived for a female Polar Bear cub at Munich Zoo Hellabrunn: The baby and mom Giovanna emerged from the den for the first time to explore their tundra habitat.
Everything is new and exciting for the cub, who, still somewhat unsteady on her feet, ventured out cautiously onto the grounds of the tundra enclosure. There was so much new to discover: every ray of sun, every blade of grass, and every stone had to be closely examined. Determined to explore everything, the little polar bear followed Giovanna's every step in this unknown world.
Photo Credits: Joerg Koch, Marc Mueller
After spending the last few months in the mothering den, Giovanna has used up almost all her fat reserves and as a result lost much weight, which is normal for Polar Bear mothers. Giovanna is gradually returning to her normal diet, and her cub is trying bits of solid food. The cub still drinks her mother’s milk, which will continue for two more years.
Zoo director Rasem Baban said, "In the last three months, Giovanna has shown herself to be an experienced and patient mother. It is a great joy to watch her show her cub the world outside the mothering den. The little one will discover more and more every day and become increasingly bolder."
The little cub, who is not yet named, is an ambassador for her species, which is under threat from shrinking sea ice. As ice in the Arctic diminishes, Polar Bears’ ability to hunt seals from the ice is impaired. Polar Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns are indicative of the fall season…and Halloween.
Zoo Keepers work hard to keep their animals healthy and happy. Enrichment toys and activities are an important tool that Keepers utilize to help in that pursuit. Enrichment items encourage natural behavior and stimulate the senses…and what could be more stimulating, this time of year, than celebrating by tearing into a bright orange pumpkin!
A little cub named Lola is the first Andean Bear birth at the Belfast Zoo in more than 20 years.
Keepers didn’t have high hopes when the Lola’s parents, Spook and Alice, were first introduced, as the two scarcely seemed to tolerate one another.
Then, in late 2015, Alice began to show signs of pregnancy. Keepers gave Alice a private den for the latter stages of her pregnancy, and Lola was born on February 6.
Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo
Andean Bear cubs remain in the den with their mother exclusively for several months. On May 31, the zoo’s veterinary staff performed their first health check on the cub, confirmed her gender, and pronounced her healthy.
Now that Lola is in the Bear habitat, zoo guests are enjoying her antics as she navigates the rocks and tries out new foods.
Andean Bears are also known as Spectacled Bears due to the light fur around their eyes, which can look like spectacles against the Bear’s darker fur. No two bears have the same pattern.
These Bears live in cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes Mountains, stretching Venezuela to Peru. There are eight species of Bear species worldwide, but the Andean bear is the only one native to South America. Andean Bears are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction and fragmentation caused by agriculture. They are also hunted for meat and for their supposed medicinal properties.
The cub was born on December 6, 2014, but the news of the birth was kept under-cover in order to allow much needed bonding time with the mother. Remote control cameras, in the den, showed the mother was doing an outstanding job with her new offspring, during this time. In early February, it was determined the cub is a male. Zoo staff have named the new little guy ‘Niko’.
Sloth Bears, originating from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, are rare sights in zoos. There are just 25 individuals kept in European zoos, and these are managed by a breeding-programme (EEP). This season, only Zoo Leipzig and NaturZoo Rheine are lucky enough to have successful births of this unique bear species, which is characterized by a shaggy black coat, long claws and long snout.
NaturZoo Rheine has cared for Sloth Bears since 2009 when a new state-of-the-art bear-enclosure was opened. There was a first birth in December 2013, but the young was found dead two days after birth. Hopefully, Niko will be the first successful birth and rearing of a Sloth Bear in Rheine.
The parents of Niko are both zoo-born themselves: Father “Franz” was born in Leipzig Zoo in 2005, and mother “Devi” originates from Zoo Berlin, where she was born in 2008.
It will take several more weeks until the young bear will start to explore the outdoor-enclosure. So far he is exercising in the indoor-rooms.
A Sloth Bear cub is alive today because keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo decided to hand-raise the cub rather than leave her with her mother, Khali. The cub is now active and growing thanks to the round-the-clock care she receives from zoo keepers.
The photos below chronicle the cub’s growth from two weeks old to two-and-a-half months old.
Photo Credits: Smithsonsian's National Zoo, Courtney Janney, Connor Mallon
The cub was one of three born to Khali on December 29, 2013, and she is the only cub that survived longer than seven days. Khali ingested the first cub about 20 minutes after she gave birth. It is not uncommon for carnivores, including Sloth Bears, to ingest stillborn cubs, or even live cubs if they or the mother are compromised in some way. Khali, an experienced mom, appeared attentive to her two remaining cubs, and keepers monitored her closely via closed-circuit cams before, during and after the births. However, she ingested a second cub seven days later and spent several hours away from her remaining cub in the early morning hours of January 6, which is not normal for a Sloth Bear with a newborn cub.
Assiniboine Park Zoo’s newest Polar Bear is comfortably settling into her new home less than 24 hours after arriving on October 28 from Churchill. Officials from the zoo, located in Winnipeg, Canada, travelled to northern Manitoba to rescue the female cub after she was found wandering alone near the airport last week.
Believed to be 11 months-old, the 94-pound (38 kg) cub wouldn’t have otherwise survived on her own, as Polar Bears rely on protection from their mothers for up to two years. Now that she’s at Assiniboine Park Zoo's International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPCC), the wild bear seems to feel right at home: she is eating well on her own, playing with enrichment toys, and splashing around in her kiddie pool. For the next 30 days, she will remain in quarantine, as is zoo standard procedure. This will allow close monitoring of her health and ensure that the new bear will not pass on any pathogens when she is eventually introduced to the two other bears at the zoo. Besides a few broken teeth and some bumps, she is generally in good condition, and does not appear to be stressed by her new surroundings.
Photo credits: Assiniboine Park Zoo
See a video of the curious bear as she investigates her new surroundings:
See a news story about the bear:
The yet-unnamed bear is the third resident bear at the zoo and could eventually be placed into a breeding program to help conserve wild Polar Bears. She will be the center's first resident female, and their first orphaned rescue.
"It's one of those feel-good stories that we can save her. It's a shame that you have an animal like this that you have to take from the wild, but with no chance of survival, it's the only thing that makes sense," says Don Peterkin, chief operations officer for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. "The IPBCC was built for orphaned cubs. We recognized that there would be other needs, but we all have a soft spot for an 11-month-old cub who has lost Mom and has no chance of survival in the wild at all. She's just too young to ever hope to survive on her own."
“Without the Center here, the options are fairly limited. We have tried in the past to adopt out orphan cubs with a mother and one cub, but those attempts have all failed,” says Dr. Jim Duncan of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship.
The International Polar Bear Conservation Centre opened almost two years ago and is part of the larger Journey to Churchill exhibit that is still under construction, but is expected to open in the summer of 2014. The Centre has outdoor habitats for the polar bears as well. Eventually the three resident bears will move into one of the larger outdoor Polar Bear habitats in Journey to Churchill. The zoo is also looking at a fourth bear from Argentina that may join the others as early as the spring.
The Andean Bear cub born at the Phoenix Zoo in January needs
a name, and you are invited to vote
through Sunday, June 30.
Photo Credit: Joseph Becker
The cub’s keepers have selected four names that they feel
represent the little cub’s personality. The
potential names are:
‘bear’ and ‘courageous’
‘born in January’
‘light’ in reference to the white spectacle markings around Andean bears’ eyes
‘he will grow’
Voting will run until 8 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, June 30.
The results will then be tabulated and the new name will be announced on Tuesday,
The cub and his mother, Rio, remain behind the scenes at the
zoo. You first met the cub on ZooBorns in
April, but as you can see from the photos, he is growing fast. The cub will make his public debut sometime
later this year.
Andean Bears, also called Spectacled Bears, are native to the Andes Mountains of
South America, where they are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union
for Conservation of Nature. Only
2,000-2,400 remain in the wild.
The Phoenix Zoo's Andean Bear cub, born in January, recently had its first vet check-up. After patiently waiting for more than three months, they received the exciting news that it's a boy! Rio, the 17-year-old mother, is doing an excellent job raising her young cub, who will soon be named. Andean Bears are a small, arboreal, largely vegetarian bear from the Andes Mountains in South America. They're also called Spectacled Bears due to the white markings on their faces which make them look as if they are wearing glasses.
The Andean Bear is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with an estimated 2000-2400 left in the wild. There are approximately 56 Andean bears at 33 different AZA zoos throughout North America who
are a part of the Andean bear Species Survival Plan. All work toward the future of
this species through managed breeding. The Phoenix Zoo is a part of that SSP and the
two bears housed there -- the male Rizzaro, and
the female, Rio --were selected for breeding by the SSP. Rizzaro has only been at the
Phoenix Zoo since the fall of 2011, but he and Rio hit it off right away! This cub is the 5th cub that has been born and survived in the last six years.
Photo Credit: Photo 1: Bridget Tighe, All other photos: Christina Goulart
Recently, for the first time in the presence of the keepers Rio let go of the cub, stepped away, and allowed the cub to be briefly on its own. As mom got a little snack, keepers shot a short video. While Rio quickly returned to her baby, this marks a huge moment in the cub's development. Watch those first baby steps below:
This next video was the first glimpse keepers got of the newborn cub. About half way through you'll see the little guy yawn:
Here he is at 10 weeks old with mom behind the scenes. Rio cradles the cub in one paw as she gets some of her favored food (fish and pears).