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Photos: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Photos: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Queens Zoo debuted an adorable new addition this morning.

A male Andean bear cub, which has not been named yet, was born to mother Nicole, 4, and father Bouba, 6, last winter. This is the first Andean bear cub to be born in New York City.

Native to South America, the Andean bear is also known as the spectacled bear due to the markings on their faces that sometimes resemble glasses. They have short faces and are characteristically smaller than other bears, with adult males weighing between 250 and 350 pounds and females weighing 200 pounds at most.

The cub, now 25 pounds, is ready to explore the zoo’s bear habitat with his mother by his side. Exhibit times will vary until the cub becomes fully acclimated to its outdoor exhibit.

Here’s some of his cuteness in action:

The Queens Zoo is breeding Andean bears as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos and aquariums. Andean bears are currently classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, with estimates indicating that there are less than 18,000 of these bears left in the wild.

“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,” said Scott Silver, Queens Zoo Director and Animal Curator. “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.”

 

Video: © WCS

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