Queens, NY – December 14, 2021 – Two Andean bear cubs (Tremarctos ornatus) born at the Queens Zoo are making their public debut.
The cubs, a male and a female, have yet to be named. They were born this summer to dam, Nicole, and sire, Bouba. This is the third successful litter for Nicole and Bouba, who have now produced five offspring.
There is new activity afoot in the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) habitat at the Queens Zoo as three cubs have made their public debut.
The cubs, one male and two females, were born in May while the zoo was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, they bonded with their mother and are now mature enough to begin exploring their exhibit.
“Lynx cubs are really fun to watch at this age. Their characteristically large paws look enormous in comparison to their size,” said Mike Allen, Queens Zoo Director. “Their playful stalking and pouncing is how they learn to hunt in the wild. Our guests will enjoy watching their development and the opportunity to observe these behaviors as the cubs mature.”
The trio was born as a result of a breeding recommendation from the Canada Lynx Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Canada lynx are medium-sized cats that have a thick grayish-brown coat and short tail. They are easily identified by the pointed tufts of fur on their ears and cheeks. Their oversized paws act as snowshoes to prevent them from sinking in deep snow during the harsh winters of their native range, which spans Alaska, Canada, and portions of the northern and western United States.
Canada lynx populations are healthy in some portions of their range, and the species is classified as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In the United States, they are protected under the Endangered Species Act where their numbers have declined due to fur trapping and habitat destruction.
The Queens Zoo, along with the other four Wildlife Conservation Society parks in New York City (Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium), has reopened to the public and is welcoming visitors in accordance with the COVID-19 safety guidelines issued by the State of New York. All guests over 3 years old are required to wear masks and all tickets are date-specific and must be purchased in advance online. For a full list of COVID-19 protocols, visit the zoo’s Know Before You Go page.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $9.95 for adults, $7.95 for seniors 65 and older, $6.95 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park in Queens. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit www.queenszoo.com.
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.
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.”
Photo 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.
The male cub was born over the winter to mother, Nicole, and father, Bouba. Now weighing 25lbs, the yet-to-be-named cub is ready to venture into the zoo’s bear habitat with mom to start exploring.
Exhibit times will vary until the cub becomes fully acclimated to its outdoor exhibit.
Andean Bears 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 glasses. 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.
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).
The cub’s sire, Bouba (age six), moved to Queens from a zoo in France to breed with Nicole (age four), who born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC and arrived at the Queens Zoo in 2015. This is the first cub born to this pair. There are currently only 42 bears in AZA accredited zoos and only six potentially viable breeding pairs in the SSP population.
Queens Zoo Director and Animal Curator, Scott Silver, leads the national breeding program as the SSP coordinator. Silver said, “This is a significant birth for the Queens Zoo and the Andean Bear SSP breeding program. This little guy may be adorable, but more importantly he reminds us of what we stand to lose when a species is in danger of extinction. We are excited to introduce the cub to New York and to share the work WCS and our partners are doing to save Andean Bears and many other species in the wild.”
The Queens Zoo started breeding New England Cottontails, this year, as part of a collaborative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), various state agencies in NY and New England, universities, public and private landowners, other conservation NGOs, and the Roger Williams Park Zoo (Providence, R.I.), in an effort to boost the wild population.
Photo Credits: Scott Silver
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the New England Cottontail as “Vulnerable”. The rabbit was recently reviewed for listing as “threatened” or “endangered” under the federal Endangered Species Act. The USFWS found that federal protection was unnecessary, as current conservation efforts have shown productive results, and ongoing plans are in place to recover the species.
New England Cottontails have light brown coats and look strikingly similar to the more populous Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, which is designated “Least Concern” by the IUCN. The Eastern Cottontail is not native and was introduced to the region in the early 1900s, primarily for hunting purposes. DNA analysis is the most reliable way to distinguish between the two species.
The Queens Zoo’s breeding program takes place in an off-exhibit space, and the rabbits are not on exhibit for public viewing. Special habitats and conditions have to be created to encourage courtship and breeding. The adult males and females are initially kept in their own enclosures, and then introduced in specially designed rabbit pens, where they get to know each other and hopefully reproduce. These pens have hay beds, nest boxes, and other features so they can pair up or separate much as they would in the wild. After a week of living together, the rabbits are separated, and each one goes back to its own enclosure. These environmental variations are important to the regular reproductive cycle of the species.
This season, 11 young rabbits (known as kits) were born at the Queens Zoo and sent to New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Once there, biologists from the partnering agencies first introduced them to a one acre outdoor acclimation pen and fitted them with transmitters to track the migration patterns of the rabbits. When ready, they were fully released into suitable forest and thicket-lined habitats. Overall, between all the partnering organizations, 41 rabbits were released this year.
“The New England Cottontail is an example of a species that can be saved if enough people and organizations come together to help protect it,” said Scott Silver, Director and Curator of the WCS Queens Zoo. “We’re proud to be part of this amazing coalition of agencies and the Roger Williams Park Zoo, dedicated to conserving this ecologically important animal.”
Jim Breheny, WCS Executive Vice President and General Director of WCS Zoos and Aquarium, said, “In only a few short months, the Queens Zoo’s new New England Cottontail breeding program has proven successful. The WCS zoos and aquarium inspire people to value nature when they visit our facilities, but we also have a commitment to conservation through our extensive on-site breeding programs for both local and global species that are experiencing challenges in the wild.”
A rare Southern Pudu, the world’s smallest species of deer, was born at the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Queens Zoo in New York. The young doe weighed one pound at her birth on July 8th, and could weigh as much as 20 pounds as an adult. The fawn is still nursing but will soon transition to fresh leaves, grain, kale, carrots, and hay.
Pudu are extraordinary creatures. Although small in stature, only 12 to 14 inches at the shoulder, Pudu are excellent jumpers, sprinters, and climbers. What the Pudu lacks in size, it makes up in strategy: when chased, Pudu run in a zigzag pattern to escape predation. They will bark when they sense danger and can climb fallen trees.
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher / WCS
Southern Pudu are native to Chile and Argentina, and are designated Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Using research and conservation practices, WCS is working in the Pudu’s range countries to grapple with habitat loss and other threats to wildlife. Visit WCS's website if you're interested in making a donation to help save wildlife and wild places.
The Queens Zoo saw the arrival of four Pronghorn Antelope fawns. The fawns were born to two different mothers one week apart, and include one set of female twins and a second male-female set, bringing the Zoo’s Pronghorn herd up to a total of eight.
Each fawn has a coat of soft brown fur and enormous dark-brown eyes. Already they can be seen prancing around their exhibits on their signature long legs, which give the species its incredible speed. Pronghorn are one of the world’s fastest land animals, second only to the cheetah. They also rank highly for endurance, second to Arctic caribou for the longest-distance migration in the Western Hemisphere.
Two of the fawns can be seen on the Farm, where visitors can watch zookeepers bottle-feed them a nutrient-rich formula several times a day, as you see in this video.
The two younger fawns remain in the Plains habitat which they share with a herd of bison just as they would in the wild. Those babies spend much of their time running through the large, open space.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed two endangered baby
red-ruffed lemurs on April 21. The babies are the first lemurs to be born at
Jambo Junction, home to the parks’ animal ambassadors, since parents Maditra and
Bozeny arrived as babies three years ago.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
The sex of the babies has yet to be determined, but they are developing well overall, according to trainers. They are getting braver each day, and exploring their habitat under the watchful eye of Mom and Dad. They currently weigh about 300 grams or a little more than half a pound; lemurs average about 80 grams, or .17 of a pound, at birth. They grow to be about 8 to 10 pounds.