Two Andean bear cubs born in Washington DC The Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute announced on November 15. Considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an estimated 2,000 Andean bears remain in the wild, making the birth of these cubs all the more significant.
The cub was born to first-time parents to a 3-year-old female named Brienne and a 9-year-old male named Quito, according to the zoo. The keeper said they were both “active and vocal” and was “cautiously optimistic” that they would thrive.
Zoo officials say Brienne will raise the babies on her own for a few months before undergoing a veterinary examination to determine the sex. She is the fourth litter born at the zoo since 2010.
Just under 40 Andean bears are involved in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Program, and are being studied to determine which bears can breed.
Brienne and Quito first mated in the spring, but didn’t conceive until at least the fall because of the slow reproduction of the species, according to the zoo. did.
Andean bears are the only bear species in South America. They usually live in the Andes mountains from Venezuela to Bolivia.
The zoo said Brienne and her children will stay in her den Make sure both babies are healthy and thriving until at least early spring 2023.