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.