Bear

Phoenix Zoo's Andean Bear Cub is a Boy!

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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.

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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).

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Bear Fight!

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Kali sizes up her opponent...

On March 12, an Inuit hunter shot and killed a female Polar Bear near Point Lay, Alaska. When he realized it was a female, he searched for the den and found young Kali, a 3 - 4 month cub. The hunter then carried the cub to the Department of Wildlife Management who then passed the healthy 18.4lb cub to the Alaska Zoo who was equipped to care for the orphan.

Thankfully the cub has so far thrived under the care of keepers and veterinarians, exhibiting the trademark playfulness of his age and species. In these photos, taken by volunteer photographer John Gomes at the Alaska Zoo, the cub takes on a similarly sized opponent. Plans are in the works to relocate the cub to the Buffalo Zoo in New York, which recently welcomed another cub, Luna. 

Kali makes the first move

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Brown Bear gets the upper paw! 

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Exhausted, they agree to disagree

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Photos courtesy of Alaska Zoo / John Gomes

Polar Bears are one of the most recognizable animals threatened by melting polar ice. The Alaska Zoo works with Polar Bears International (PBI) to try to reverse this troubling trend. The Alaska Zoo is a PBI Arctic Ambassador Center, which means they:

* Strive for bear friendly exhibits with enrichment activities to stimulate the bears to be active and content

* Provide leadership for carbon emission reduction in their communities

* Support PBI research projects to help conserve wild polar bears

* Play a key role in the PBI Sustainability Alliance, a front-line team helping to save polar bears in a rapidly warming Arctic

Thanks to Jaymie Wahlen for her help on this post.


Twin Andean Bear Cubs Thriving at National Zoo

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The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s eight-week-old Andean Bear cubs received a clean bill of health this week during their veterinary exam. The cubs received a complete physical, which included listening to their hearts and lungs; checking their mouths, eyes, legs, feet and genital area; and feeling their bellies. The cubs also received the first of a series of routine vaccines. Although it is difficult to determine the sex at such a young age, the cubs appear to be male and female. The larger cub weighs 10.1 pounds; the smaller weighs 9.2 pounds.

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Photo Credit: Beth Branneu / Smithsonian's National Zoo

You read about the cubs on ZooBorns soon after their birth on December 14.  The cubs have spent the past two months bonding in the den with their mother, Billie Jean. Animal care staff and the public have had the unique opportunity to watch Billie Jean give birth, nurture her cubs, and watch them play and grow via the live Andean Bear Cub Cam.

The family’s public debut will take place later this spring.  Andean Bears—also known as Spectacled Bears—are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and it is estimated that there are only 2,000 left in their natural habitat. They inhabit mountainous areas from Venezuela to Bolivia.

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Significant Birth: Sloth Bear Twins Thriving at Tautphaus Park Zoo

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Two little Sloth Bears were born at the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls on November 29. Just about a week before, keepers performed an ultrasound on their pregnant female Sloth and saw a spine and got a heartbeat, so they knew there was one cub. Another ultrasound was planned for the 29th, but when they went to the den to perform it that morning, they saw proud mom Pria holding two cubs: one male, weighing just over a pound, and one female, just under a pound.

Pria has been an excellent mother. She's quite calm when she has had to separate from her cubs in order for them to get their weekly check up. For this Pria is rewarded with LOTS of peanut butter!

Meanwhile the cubs are weighed, checked for developmental milestones and have lots of photos taken to record their progress. And they have been growing beautifully. At three weeks their eyes started to open, and at four, their teeth began to come in. The babies have steadily gained approximately a pound a week, so now, at six weeks old, they weigh just about six pounds each. 

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Photo Credit: photo 1, 3 4, 5: Beth Rich photo 2: Darrell Markum

There are very few Sloth Bears breeding in North American zoos, so this birth is highly significant. Mom Pria, is 4 years old and arrived from the Sunset Zoo in Kansas in April of 2011. Mick, the father, is 14 years old, and arrived from Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas in April of 2011. This pairing was recommended by the Bear TAG. 

The cubs do not have names yet, but the zoo plans to have a local naming contest.

See more photos of the bears after the fold:

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Tiny Sloth Bear Cub Gets Vocal at Smithsonian's National Zoo

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The Smithsonian National Zoo has two bearing bears! The month of December was fruitful for the National Zoo's bears. You may have read about the first birth of an Andean Bear cub here on ZooBorns. Now 18-year-old Sloth Bear Hana has given birth to a single cub. What's more, it all went down on Dec. 19, which happens to be her own birthday!

Animal care staff are keeping a close watch on the cub through a closed-circuit TV camera, and so far, both bears are doing great. Mom is very attentive, and the cub has successfully nursed.

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At first, the cub was quite fussy when Hana would change position. Now, it is more settled, sleeping regularly and soundly. When Hana leaves the den for a drink, the cub tries to crawl around in the hay. However, it doesn’t have much coordination yet. It will be another week or two before it becomes more coordinated and able to start moving around more on its own.

At 17 days old, as seen in the video below, the cub is loud for such a tiny baby. Watch as it opens its little mouth and looks like it's trying to find somewhere to nurse. But the Zoo reports this is just playing behavior. Regardless, Mom is quite patient and attentive with her vocal little one.  

He (or she) is growing! Keepers estimate the cub’s weight to be about 1-2 pounds. It’s likely that the cub will open its eyes any day now. 

It will be a few months before it goes on exhibit. On warm winter days, Zoo visitors can watch the cub’s father, Francois, sunning himself on Asia Trail.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo


Seeing Double: Andean Bear Cubs Born at Smithsonian National Zoo

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The Smithsonian National Zoo is celebrating the birth of two Andean Bear cubs born overnight on December 13 to 6-year-old Mom, Billie Jean. The first cub was born around 12:01 a.m. and the second at 2:02 a.m. These two cubs were sired by Nikki, who passed away in August.

This species has a high mortality rate, with first-year mortality at 41 percent for males and 44 percent for females. The Andean Bear population in human care has experienced a lull in the past six years and these cubs are the only surviving Andean cubs in a North American Zoo since Billie Jean’s first cubs, Bernardo and Chaska, were born in 2010.

Animal Care Sciences staff will monitor the cubs on the Andean Bear Cam, but will leave Billie Jean to nurture and bond with her cubs without interference. It will be at least two months before keepers and veterinarians can determine the cubs’ sex.

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Photo Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The public can also view Billie Jean and the cubs on the live camera on the Zoo’s website or mobile app. For now the Zoo will be collecting screenshots in a Flickr album and is asking the public to contribute images and video to a separate Flickr album. The Zoo will also post updates on Facebook and Twitter.


Oregon Zoo Keeper Cares for Bear Cub

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This post was reprinted in entirety from the Oregon Zoo's outstanding press release

"Michelle, we need your help."

So began a conversation that Michelle Schireman, an Oregon Zoo keeper known for taking in orphaned cougar cubs, realized would upend her life, both professionally and personally, for a while. It was her day off from the zoo, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was calling her at home.

As Schireman recounted that surprise phone call to zoo staffers a couple days later, a furry black animal about the size of a Labrador puppy wobbled Bambi-like around her boots, unsure of where to go next. Its tiny size, downy fur, and attachment to a nearby beaver plush toy suggested something harmless. But the sharp teeth and long claws confirmed its true identity: American Black Bear – and, of course, the reason for ODFW's call.

On April 23, state wildlife officials fielded a call from a Medford, Ore., family that had taken a young bear cub from the wild and brought it into their home. With no idea how to care for the helpless yet wild animal, they turned to professionals. Those professionals turned to Schireman.

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The animal keeper, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' population manager for cougars, has fostered orphaned cougar cubs for several years, having placed nearly 75 during her time with the Oregon Zoo.

"I'm usually the first person fish and wildlife departments call when orphaned cougars are found in the wild," Schireman said. "Young cougars can't survive without their mothers, so I work with accredited zoos to find them new homes." Schireman's big heart and animal-care expertise led wildlife officials to believe she might find a home for this young bear cub too.

She got permission to house the cub temporarily at the zoo's Veterinary Medical Center during her workday, taking him home with her at night since the cub was still of nursing age and required around-the-clock care. At just a couple of months old, the bear weighed 4 pounds – about the same as a half-gallon of milk – which, surprisingly, is normal for an animal that could grow to be 6 feet tall and weigh up to 600 pounds.

42512BB-205-EditPhoto credits: Michael Durham / Oregon Zoo

Read more and enjoy many photos after the jump

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Baby Bear Quadruplets for Zoo Sauvage

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When Zoo Sauvage's twelve year old mama Black Bear emerged from the den after hibernation this spring, she brought a surprise… or four. Bear cub quadruplets are rare and usually reflect a healthy mother who is larger than your average bear - this she-bear fits the bill. Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien's Black Bears live in an open 824 acre habitat called Nature Trail Park.

Baby Bear Cubs Zoo Sauvage With Mom 1Photo credits: Zoo Sauvage de St-Félicien


Czech it out! Two Brown Bear Cubs Make Their Public Debut!

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On Thursday, two Kamchatka Brown Bear cubs made their first ever public appearance at Zoo Brno in the Czech Republic. The cubs received their shots, each was microchipped, and vets determined that the cubs are males. All this in a fifteen minute check up! Immediately after the check up and press debut, the cubs returned to their den where they'll remain until they are ready to roam their outdoor exhibit. The Kamchatka Brown Bear is a subspecies of the Brown Bear native to the Anadyrsky District, the Kamchatka Peninsula, Karaginskiy Island, the Kuril Islands, the coastal strip west of the Sea of Okhotsk southward to the Stanovoy Range and the Shantar Islands.

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Photo credit: Zoo Brno / Martin Lukac


Little Bear Brothers Make Their Debut

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Photo Credit: Jeanne DeBonis

Two orphaned Grizzly Bear cubs made their public debut on June 14, 2011 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.The little bear brothers traveled to Cleveland from Montana, where they were being cared for in a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

The cubs, estimated to be about 4 months old, came to the Zoo on June 2 weighing about 20 pounds each. Currently they weigh about 40 pounds each. When fully grown, an adult male Grizzly Bear can weigh up to 900 pounds. After a routine stay in quarantine, the grizzly cubs are now ready to begin exploring their Northern Trek exhibit, which has been specially prepped for young bears.

The Zoo wants the public to help determine the cubs’ new names. Visit www.clemetzoo.com and help us “Dub the Cubs” by voting in the online poll. Results will be announced on August 1.

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Photo Credit: Jeanne DuBonis/Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

A man looking for shed antlers in the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area near Helena, Montana startled the cubs’ mother. The man shot the mother Grizzly in self-defense and the cubs were taken in by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

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