Rare Andean bear cubs begin to venture out of cubbing den

The UK’s second-ever Andean twin bear cubs recently took their very first steps out into their expanded nursery.

The 4-month-old cubs have been pictured exploring their outside habitat under the watchful eye of mum Madidi. The ‘nursery’ area has recently been extended to accommodate the twin bears with plenty of space for these playful cubs to explore, climb and grow. Although these small bears were wary at first, they were soon bounding around this exciting new area. 

In anticipation of the cubs venturing out, the keepers and ground staff made several changes to ‘cub proof’ their habitat. The enclosure has been divided to allow the cubs access to the main area while separating them from the stream and the main pool.  The pond in their area has been drained until the cubs are bigger and as an extra precaution, woodchip mulch has been laid to soften any potential tumbles. However, taking after their adventurous mum, Madidi, these cubs have already proven that they are adept and confident climbers. Andean bears are an arboreal species perfectly adapted for climbing; they have non-retractable claws to help them climb trees to reach food in mountainous regions of South America.

Curator Chris Wilkinson said “It’s exciting to see them out and to be at a point where the public can finally see them. We are very happy with their growth and development.”

The cubs are now closer to dad, Rasu, who showed mild interest in these miniature versions of himself. The twin bears and their mother Madidi will remain separate from Rasu as Andean bears, also known as Spectacled bears, live a solitary lifestyle in the wild; usually only coming together to mate. There is typically no paternal involvement in the rearing of cubs.

Noah’s Ark is delighted that the cubs have started fully exploring this extended nursery and visitors will now be able to watch this dynamic pair grow. This exciting news coincides perfectly with the zoo’s May Half Term event which has a bear-themed focus. The event will include new bear keeper talks, interactive storytelling of bears from around the world and exclusive bear footage displayed on the new ‘Cub Cam’ TV located at Andean Adventures.  The zoo’s catering outlets are getting ‘beary’ excited and will be making some teddy bear picnic-themed goodies for you to enjoy your picnic.

There are thought to be fewer than 10,000 Andean bears in the wild and are the last living species of short-faced bear. With only isolated populations of spectacled bears left in the wild, they are now 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.

 

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