San Diego Zoo welcomes Andean bear cubs

Two Andean bear cubs, now 3 months old, waddling from their private lairs to the San Diego Zoo’s public habitat for the first time.

The second mother, Alba, and father Turbo gave birth to the cubs in December 2022, according to the San Diego Zoos Wildlife Alliance. Over the past three months, wildlife conservationists have been keeping a close eye on Alba and her cubs using video cameras and an audio baby monitor, without interrupting their communication. These three months have allowed mother and cubs to bond, while newborn Andean cubs are completely dependent on their mothers.

Alba’s firstborn, Agapito, was born in 2020 and became the zoo’s first Andean bear cub in 30 years. Alba is now the mother of three Andean bears.

Back in 1993, Alba’s grandmother, Houdini, also gave birth to twins.

“We are very excited about the birth of Alba’s twin cubs,” said Tammy Batson, lead wildlife conservation officer at the San Diego Zoo. “A couple of years ago we witnessed Alba’s beautiful transition to motherhood with her first calf, and now as a second mother of twins, she continues to amaze us with her attentiveness. She is a proven mother, who now has both hands busy.

Andean bears are listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature as vulnerable species. According to the zoo, the birth of these bears is of great importance for conservation research. It is the last living relative of the extinct giant bear and the only bear species native to South America. Habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as poaching, have greatly reduced the population of Andean bears, whose range extends across Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

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