Bear

Andean Bear Siblings Out and About at Queens Zoo

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Two Andean Bear cubs born at the Queens Zoo recently made their New York City debut.

The cubs, one female and one male, were born in January to six-year-old mother, Nicole, and eight-year-old father, Bouba. After spending several weeks in their den bonding with their mother, they have now started venturing into the zoo’s outdoor habitat.

Queens Zoo animal care staff have named the cubs Brienne and Benny, and staff are closely monitoring their health and development. The time the cubs spend in the outdoor habitat will vary until they become fully acclimated to it.

“These little cubs are tremendous ambassadors for their species,” said Scott Silver, Queens Zoo Director. “Andean Bears are rarely seen in the wild, so it’s extremely special to have an opportunity to watch cubs grow. Guests will also learn about our efforts to protect Andean Bears in the wild.”

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4_Julie Larsen Maher_9281_Andean Bear and Cubs_QZ_05 10 19Photo Credits: Julie Larsen Maher /WCS

Andean Bears (Tremarctos ornatus) 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 eyeglasses. 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.

Andean Bears are classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Estimates indicate that there are fewer than 18,000 remaining in the wild.

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). There are currently only 39 Andean Bears in AZA-accredited zoos and only six potentially viable breeding pairs in the SSP population.

Bouba came to Queens from Bioparc de Doue la Fontainein in France to breed with Nicole, who was born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC and came to the Queens Zoo in 2015. This is the second time the pair has produced offspring at the Queens Zoo, and these cubs were two of only four Andean Bears born in zoos worldwide in the past year.

More great pics below the fold!

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Help Name Cleveland's Baby Sloth Bear

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After waiting four months for its new Sloth Bear cub to emerge from the den, staff at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo gave the cub its first checkup. They learned that the cub is a female!

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Born on January 14, the cub is the first to be born at the zoo in 30 years. The cub’s parents are mom Shiva and dad Balawat, and this is the first cub for both. ZooBorns reported on the cub’s birth here.

Fans are invited to help name the little cub by visiting the Sloth Bear habitat at the zoo, or by going online and make a donation to the Future for Wildlife Fund. You can choose one of the following names by midnight on May 27:

  • Lali, meaning darling
  • Nisha, meaning night
  • Shala, an homage to mom Shiva and dad Balawat

The names reflect the native home of Sloth Bears in India.

The cub stays close to Shiva for now, and she will ride on mom’s back until she is about six months old. As an adult, the cub will weigh around 300 pounds.

Sloth Bears have flexible snouts which help to suck up grubs and termites from trees. Sloth Bears also feed on fruits, flowers, sugar cane, and honey.

Sloth Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Factors such as habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict threaten Sloth Bears’ survival. The zoo participates in a project to protect Sloth Bears in Nepal, where populations have plummeted in recent years. Donations made through the naming contest go toward this project.

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Baby Polar Bear Snuggles Into the New Year

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As the saying goes, “No news is good news” – and this applies to the Polar Bear den at Tierpark Berlin. The tiny infant born there on December 1 remains peacefully tucked away in the maternity den with its mother Tonja, and spends its days nursing and cuddling with mom.

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Tonja kuschelt mit Eisbärjungtier_Tierpark BerlinPhoto Credit: Tierpark Berlin

The zoo staff is taking a hands-off approach to the new cub, allowing Tonja to care for her baby just as wild Polar Bears do. Mothers and cubs spend several months in their den, emerging in the spring.  The staff, including curator Dr. Florian Sick, uses remote camera technology to observe mom and baby every hour. "Based on the video images, I can see that the offspring has become really mischievous over the holidays. The little bear is also getting more and more active,” explains Dr. Sick.

Baby Polar Bears have a high mortality rate – in the wild, up to 85% of Polar Bears do not survive past two years of age. Dr. Sick cautions that although the cub is thriving so far, the outlook for its survival is still precarious. But for now, the zookeepers celebrate every gram that the little Polar Bear gains.

In about a month, Dr. Sick expects that the staff will have a chance to conduct a hands-on examination of the cub. By that time, Tonja will start leaving her baby in the den for short periods while she eats and drinks outdoors. While Tonja is out of the den, zookeepers can quickly weigh and examine the infant.

It’s hard for the keepers to wait to meet the cub in person, especially when they see adorable images of the baby on the remote cameras. But all agree on one wish for the new year – a healthy, active baby Polar Bear.

Wild Polar Bears face many threats, including diminishing sea ice which limits their ability to hunt. Many scientists believe that climate change is the root cause of Polar Bears’ clouded future.


Chester Zoo's Top 10 Baby Animals of 2018

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have celebrated an unprecedented number of births in 2018, including some of the world’s rarest and most at-risk species.

1. Precious sun bear cub Kyra is first of her kind to be born in the UK (8)

Sun Bear

Adorable cub Kyra was the first Sun Bear to be born in the UK. Her birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and people around the globe watched Kyra’s first moments with her mom. Kyra’s parents, Milli and Toni, were both rescued from poachers in Cambodia.    

Conservationists estimate that less than 1,000 Sun Bears remain in the wild across Southeast Asia. Deforestation and commercial hunting for their body parts have decimated their numbers.

2. Baby Stevie is the arrival of the decade… for Chester’s chimpanzees  (3)

Chimpanzee

Critically endangered Western Chimpanzee Stevie was the first of her kind to be born at Chester Zoo in nearly 10 years.

Stevie’s birth followed a scientific project, spanning several years, which carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in zoos across Europe. The study confirmed that the troop of Chimps at Chester Zoo is the highly-threatened West African subspecies – one of the rarest in the world – establishing them as a critically important breeding population. It is estimated that as few as 18,000 West African Chimpanzees now remain in the wild.

3. Elephant calf Anjan astonishes scientists after being born three months after expected due date (2)

Asian Elephant

After an unusually long pregnancy believed to have lasted 25 months, Asian Elephant Thi Hi Way gave birth to a healthy male calf, who keepers named Anjan.

A major Chester Zoo project in Assam, northern India, has successfully found ways to eliminate conflict between local communities and the nearby Asian Elephant population, offering a blueprint for the future conservation of the species.

4. Greater one-horned rhino calf Akeno gives new hope to species (2)

Greater One-horned Rhino

The momentous birth of Greater One-horned Rhino calf Akeno, born to mom Asha, was captured on CCTV cameras at the zoo.

Keepers watched as Asha delivered her calf safely onto to soft bedding after a 16-month-long gestation and 20-minute labor.

At one stage, the Greater One-horned Rhino was hunted almost to extinction and less than 200 survived in the wild. Thankfully, steps to protect the Rhinos were taken just in time and today there are around 3,500 in India and Nepal.

5. Secretive okapi calf Semuliki is a star in stripes (2)

Okapi

A rare Okapi calf named Semuliki arrived to first-time parents K’tusha and Stomp. The Okapi is found only deep in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its highly secretive nature contributed to it being completely unknown to science until 1901.

Despite being a national symbol and protected under Congolese law, Okapi populations declined in the wild by nearly 50% over the past two decades and the species is now listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

6. Tiny forest dragons help uncover new information about the species (4)
Bell’s Anglehead Lizards

A clutch of rare baby  Bell’s Anglehead Lizards – also known as Borneo Forest Dragons – hatched at the zoo, helping conservationists uncover more about the species’ breeding patterns, life cycle and habits.

The Lizards’ wild south Asian habitat however, is being decimated to make way for unsustainable palm oil plantations – a threat which is pushing many species in the region to the very edge of existence.

7. Rare silvery gibbon adds to record baby boom at the zoo  (2)
Silvery Gibbon

The birth of a tiny Silvery Gibbon astonished visitors to the zoo who were able to admire the infant just minutes after its birth. 

Conservationists hailed the arrival of this highly endangered primate, with just 4,000 of its kind now remaining on the island of Java, Indonesia, where the species is now listed as endangered by the IUCN.

8. Fluffy flamingo chicks are pretty in pink  (2)

Flamingos

Keepers were tickled pink by the arrival of 21 Flamingo chicks. Each of the fluffy newcomers was carefully hand fed by the zoo’s bird experts four times a day for five weeks until they were developed enough to fully feed for themselves.

Flamingo chicks are white or grey in color when they first hatch, resembling little balls of cotton wool, and begin to develop their famous pink plumage at around six months old.

9. Tiny babirusa triplets arrive in zoo ‘first’ (3)

Babirusa

The first set of Babirusa triplets were born at the zoo, a huge boost to the species which has experienced a recent population crash on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Once considered fairly common, the rapid decline comes as result of hunting for their meat and habitat loss, which has seen Babirusas disappear from many parts of the island.

10. Black rhino birth a surprise to visitors  (5)

Eastern Black Rhino

The arrival of Jumaane, a rare Eastern Black Rhino calf, left a handful of lucky zoo visitors in shock as his birth took place right in front of them.

Conservationists now estimate that fewer than 650 Eastern Black Rhino remain across Africa – a staggeringly low number driven by an increase in poaching to meet demand for rhino horn, which supplies the traditional Asian medicine market.

The birth of Jumaane is another vital boost to the Europe-wide breeding program which is crucial for the conservation of this critically endangered species.


Baby Polar Bear Gaining Strength At Tierpark Berlin

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A tiny Polar Bear cub born at Tierpark Berlin has passed an important milestone and is now just over two weeks old.

Born on December 1 to mother Tonja, the little Bear spends its days snuggled in a private den and tucked against mom’s warm furry body.

The zoo’s curator, Dr. Florian Sick, keeps close tabs on the newborn. Modern camera technology allows Dr. Sick to check on mom and baby in the maternity den from his smart phone at any moment of the day. This allows the staff to observe but not disturb the Polar Bears.

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Tonja und Jungtier_Tierpark Berlin_2018Photo Credit: Tierpark Berlin

From his observations, Dr. Sick notes that the baby nurses about 11 times each 24-hour period. He is hopeful that the baby will be strong enough to survive, but cautions that the mortality rate for young Polar Bears is very high. In the wild, about 85% of Polar Bears do not survive past their second birthday.

Read the baby Polar Bear's birth announcement on ZooBorns.

Polar Bears are generally born in late fall or early winter. Moms and babies remain in the maternity den for several months, and don’t emerge until spring. Tonja makes occasional trips outdoors to drink fresh water, but she does not eat and returns to her cub after just a few minutes. She lives off the thick layer of fat she accumulated last spring and summer. Males are not involved in rearing their young.

Polar Bears face numerous threats in the wild, including climate change, which results in starvation due to habitat loss. Polar Bears hunt their prey – usually Seals – from platforms of floating sea ice. As ocean temperatures rise, sea ice has diminished, and Polar Bears must swim farther off shore to reach the remaining ice. The long swims deplete the Polar Bears’ caloric reserves, making it less likely that they will survive. They cannot hunt in open water.

Polar Bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Tiny Polar Bear Cub Born at Zoo Sauvage

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On the morning of November 27, zoo keepers arrived at Zoo Sauvage and heard the strong cries of a newborn cub coming from the Polar Bear den. Female Aisaqvak had given birth to a cub.

No Polar Bear had raised a cub at Zoo Sauvage since 2009, and the Polar Bear care team worked diligently to bring about another pregnancy. In 2011, a new adult male named Yellé arrived, and the team had high hopes that he and Aisaqvak would produce a cub. But despite the fact that the two Bears showed great interest in each other over several years, Aisaqvak did not become pregnant. A new male named Eddy arrived from the Aquarium du Québec in 2015, but over two seasons, he and Aisaqvak did not produce a cub. The staff decided to bring back Yellé in 2017, and breeding success was finally achieved in 2018.

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2Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 11Photo Credit: Zoo Sauvage

Why did Aisaqvak and Yellé produce a cub this year and not in previous years? No one knows for certain, but the staff is overjoyed at the baby’s birth. The cub is significant because it introduces new genetic material into the zoo-dwelling population of Polar Bears. Aisaqvak was born in the wild, and Yellé has never reproduced before.

Newborn Polar Bears are very tiny in comparison to their mothers. Babies weigh just over one pound, while Aisaqvak weighs 727 pounds. The cub’s chances of survival are still precarious. However, the team sees hopeful signs that Aisaqvak is taking excellent care of her newborn. In addition, closed-circuit cameras allow the staff to watch every move as Aisaqvak and the baby bond in their private den. They two will remain in the den for several months, which is how mother and baby Polar Bears behave in the wild. Cubs begin walking at about three months of age. The baby’s gender will not be known for several months.

Wild Polar Bear populations are decreasing, as are populations within zoos. Polar Bears are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 2006, 364 Polar Bears resided in zoos worldwide. In 2015, only 298 Polar Bears lived in zoos. Wild Polar Bears face threats from warming seas and shrinking sea ice, which affect their ability to hunt and capture prey.


Baby Sun Bear Born to Parents Rescued From Illegal Trade

UK’s first baby sun bear named Kyra (22)

A rare baby Sun Bear delighted conservationists when she was born at Chester Zoo in June to parents who were rescued from illegal wildlife traders in Cambodia. 

When they were just cubs themselves, mom Milli and dad Toni were taken from the Cambodian forest by poachers and were mistreated while kept as pets.

UK’s first baby sun bear named Kyra (16)
UK’s first baby sun bear named Kyra (16)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo



After being discovered in very poor condition and nursed back to health by conservationists working for the Free The Bears organization in Cambodia, the duo was transferred to the United Kingdom, first to the Rare Species Conservation Centre in Kent and then to Chester Zoo to complete their recovery.

Now, despite their troubled start to life, Milli and Toni are parents of a healthy baby girl and zoo staff say the trio is doing well. Keepers chose the name Kyra, which means ‘sun goddess,’ for the cub.

Sun Bears are the smallest of the world’s eight species of Bear and are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Their demise is a result of widespread habitat loss to make way for palm oil plantations, human-wildlife conflict, hunting and the illegal wildlife trade.

Sun Bears are named for the yellow or orange crescent marking on their chest, which legend says resembles the rising or setting sun. The species is also known as the Honey Bear due to its love for honey, which it extracts from hives with its long tongue.  They also feed on termites and ants, beetle larvae, bee larvae, honey and a large variety of fruit species, especially figs.

See more photos of Kyra below.

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Spectacled Bear Cub Makes Debut at Tierpark Berlin

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Tierpark Berlin’s new Spectacled Bear recently made his public debut. He was seen hesitantly following him mother and stepping tentatively through the grass.

After spending almost four months in the birthing den, twenty-year-old mother, Julia, is now happily spending time out in the fresh air with her new cub. Keepers say there is plenty for the youngster to explore in the large outdoor habitat, with its high rocks, climbing trees, and small hills.

“The cub seems quite confident,” said Bear Curator, Dr. Florian Sicks. “Young Spectacled Bears become increasingly independent from the age of three or four months and learn to climb early. That’s important in the wild, as they need to be able to clamber up trees to escape from predators.”

The climbing trees at Tierpark Berlin reach up to nine metres high, but young spectacled bears can easily scale even such dizzying heights.

“The new Spectacled Bear cub represents an important contribution to the global population of this bear species,” explains Zoo and Tierpark Director, Dr. Andreas Knieriem. “So I’m particularly pleased that the cub is developing so well.”

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4_32089893_10156196391715149_48858461332570112_oPhoto Credits: Tierpark Berlin

The IUCN Red List classifies the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) as “Vulnerable”. The main threat to their survival is habitat destruction caused by deforestation and conversion of land for agricultural use. Spectacled Bears that wander onto fields in search of food (either crops or domestic animals) are also often killed by their human rivals. Spectacled Bears are primarily herbivorous, but occasionally add protein to their diet in the form of insects, rodents, and sometimes, larger animals like domestic sheep.

Tierpark Berlin’s young Spectacled Bear was born on December 26, 2017. He is the seventh cub for mom, Julia, and the second offspring for father, Carlos. The new cub is currently unnamed, but if a sponsor is found, he or she will be able to work with the keepers to decide on a suitable name.

A total of 17 Spectacled Bear cubs have grown up at the Tierpark Berlin. Bear curator, Dr. Florian Sicks, has been the coordinator of the European Endangered Species Programme for the Spectacled Bear since October 2017. It is his job to keep the population of these bears in Europe as stable and healthy as possible. This great responsibility is only given to zoos and curators with a high level of expertise.


Baby Bear Gets His First Exam

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A baby Spectacled Bear born at Tierpark Berlin “bears” a striking resemblance to Paddington Bear. That’s because the much-loved children’s book character was based on this species, which is native to the Andes Mountains of South America.

Born on December 26, the male cub underwent his first medical exam on March 27.  At the exam, the veterinary team confirmed his sex, implanted an ID chip, and gave the young Bear his first vaccinations. In just a few weeks, the cub – who is yet to be named – will join his mother Julia, age 20, and grandmother Puna, age 27, in the outdoor area of the Spectacled Bears’ habitat, where he is sure to win the hearts of Tierpark visitors.

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007_Tierpark_27Mrz18_FS2_0045Photo Credit: Tierpark Berlin

Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr. Andreas Knieriem is thrilled about the new arrival. “Welcoming new baby Bears is always a joyous occasion – especially when it means we are able to make a contribution to the survival of a threatened species,” he said.

Breeding of Spectacled Bears in Europe is managed by the European Endangered Species Programme for Spectacled Bears. The program acts as a kind of matchmaking service to pair males and females based on their genetic pedigree.  This strategic breeding maintains a healthy, sustainable, and genetically diverse population in zoos.

Spectacled Bears have lived at Tierpark Berlin since 1956, just one year after the park opened.  This is the seventh cub born to experienced mother Julia, but only the second cub sired by Carlos, age 21. It is the first Spectacled Bear born at Tierpark Berlin since 2013. A total of 17 Spectacled Bear cubs have grown up in the Tierpark. These Bears have contributed to safeguarding the global population of the threatened species by moving to new homes in countries as far away as Japan, Russia, and Argentina.

Spectacled Bears, also known as Andean Bears, live in the Andes Mountains, from Bolivia in the south to Venezuela in the north. The Bears live in a variety of habitats, from lowland rainforests to high-altitude grasslands at 15,000 feet above sea level.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Spectacled Bear as Vulnerable. The main threat to their survival is loss and fragmentation of habitat, caused by deforestation and conversion of land for agricultural use. Spectacled Bears that wander onto fields in search of food – either crops or domestic animals – are often killed by their human rivals. Spectacled Bears are primarily herbivorous, occasionally adding protein to their diet by eating insects, rodents, and sometimes larger animals, such as domestic sheep.

 


Baby Sloth Bears Are Tiny Adventurers

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After months of cozying up with mom Tasha in the den, the Woodland Park Zoo’s 13-week-old Sloth Bear cubs took their first steps outdoors. The tiny adventurers explored all around, trying to climb on everything. The best perch of all? Mom's back!

Until now, fans have only been able to see the two male cubs via cameras installed in the maternity den. 

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DDow_3-25-18-SlothBearCubs-6Photo Credit: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

“We’re very excited to see Tasha and her cubs out on exhibit,” said Pat Owen, animal care manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “The fact that they’ve started to go outside the maternity den and explore is a good indicator the cubs are healthy and thriving. At this time, the cubs and mom are still exploring and adjusting to their new surroundings. They will still have access to the off-view maternity den as they make this transition.”

The two male cubs, born December 27, 2017, are the offspring of 13-year-old mother Tasha and 17-year-old father Bhutan.
 
Sloth Bears are native to the lower elevations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. There are currently less than 10,000 remaining in the wild. Their survival is challenged by fragmented populations, competition with other animals (particularly humans) for space and food, deforestation, and the illegal trade in Bear parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicines.

For more than 400 years, Sloth Bears were targeted for human exploitation to perform as “Dancing Bears;” in 2009, the last Dancing Bear in India was released. Woodland Park Zoo is a participant in the Sloth Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program under the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) that ensures genetic diversity and demographic stability among Sloth Bears in North American zoos. Prior to the birth of these cubs, Woodland Park Zoo had five Sloth Bear births; two sets of twins and one cub which did not survive.
 
Woodland Park Zoo supports Wildlife SOS in their Sloth Bear maternal and day denning research project focused on Sloth Bears in the wild and in zoos. The project aims to learn more about day dens (used by Sloth Bears as a place to rest in safety during daylight hours), and the maternal dens used to give birth to and raise cubs.