Twin Andean Bear Cubs Thriving at National Zoo
February 23, 2013
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.
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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