The UK’s second ever Andean twin bear cubs recently had their first vet health check-up and passed with flying colours.
The cubs, now three months old, have spent the last few months in the secluded cubbing den with their mother, Madidi. The specially constructed den is fitted with infrared CCTV and microphones and until now, this is how the keepers were monitoring the progress of the cubs and Madidi.
In the early days after the birth, Madidi rarely left the cubs, only for short periods of time to feed. Despite female adult bears weighing around 80kg, their offspring are only around 300 grams and are born blind.
The keepers have observed Madidi closely and noticed her growing confidence in leaving the cubs for longer periods of time. The timing of the vet check needed to occur while mum was not in the cubbing den and cubs were not able to follow.
The entire vet check was done as quickly as possible to minimise stress to Madidi. Both cubs received a visual check-over, were microchipped, weighed and the vet team were able to identify the gender of each of the cubs.
These first checks revealed that Madidi has a boy and a girl! The male cub weighed in at 5.5kg and the female cub at 5Kg. Male bears grow up to 30 percent larger than the females. Measuring up to 6ft in height and approximately 150kg in weight.
These images are the first colour, high resolution photos taken outside the dark cubbing den and clearly show their distinctive facial markings that give the bears the name ‘Spectacled bears’. They are also famously the inspiration behind Paddington Bear from “darkest Peru.”
“It is wonderful to watch the development of the cubs. They have grown so much and it’s really interesting to see the differences in the personalities with the female cub being much more vocal and inquisitive than her brother” said lead keeper Jayne.
They were born in January this year to five-year-old Madidi originally from Chester Zoo and Rasu originally from Zurich Zoo. They were originally matched up in 2019 as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP).
With only isolated populations of spectacled bears left in the wild, they are vulnerable to extinction. The birth of these twin bear cubs is a significant achievement of the EEP and Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm helping to preserve these amazing species for future generations.
Spectacled bears originate from South America, with males and females coming together to mate between April-June and spend the rest of the time apart. There is typically no paternal involvement in the rearing of cubs. There are fewer than 10,000 in the wild.
Images courtesy of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and distributed by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm™
To learn more about the cubs: