HomeOutdoorsNewsAndean Bear Gives Birth to Two Rare Cubs at the Smithsonian National Zoo

Andean Bear Gives Birth to Two Rare Cubs at the Smithsonian National Zoo

by Craig Garrett
(Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) in Washington, D.C. has two new adorable baby Andean bears. Brienne, a 3-year-old Andean bear, welcomed her rare cubs into the world on November 15th, People reports. This is the first time in eight years that the National Zoo has had newborns of this species. The father of Brienne’s children is 9-year-old Quito.

Sara Colandrea, an NZCBI animal keeper detailed the birth in a press release. “For a new couple like Brienne and Quito, it is great to see all of the management, science, and time that we have put into this species culminate in such a great way,” Colandrea said. “We’re looking forward to watching Brienne navigate motherhood and, of course, all the cute antics we’re bound to see from little bear cubs!” she quipped. Footage of the cuddly duo has been posted on YouTube.

The National Zoo mentioned that the cubs are full of energy and make a lot of noise. Additionally, staff members are hopeful that the baby bears will remain healthy as they grow older. NZCBI is using video footage to monitor the bear family in order to avoid getting in Brienne’s way while she bonds with her newborn cubs.

The cubs won’t be appearing in public at the zoo until spring. However, animal lovers can watch them virtually on the National Zoo’s website for now. Zookeepers will determine the sex of each cub closer to their public debut.

Zoo Keepers are eager to see how the Andean Bear cubs develop

NZCBI is eager to see what personalities the little bears will have. Will they take after their mother and are “curious and daring” or if they get their father’s traits and are “quiet and reserved.” In September 2020, Brienne arrived at the National Zoo. Meanwhile, in November 2017 her father Quito journeyed to the zoo from Germany.

The primary source of information that scientists have on Andean bears comes from zoos, such as NZCBI. At these facilities, experts observe and document the creatures’ behavior, health and reproduction habits. Keepers and scientists have teamed up to discover when female bears are in estrus by analyzing their behaviors. This collaboration allows them to breed bears together at the most opportune time.

The data gathered from this research could help zoos better care for and increase the rate of successful breeding for the rare bears. This information is being shared with other institutions through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums so that they may benefit as well.

The Andean bear is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and is estimated to number only 2,000 individuals remaining in the wild. They are South America’s only bear species and inhabit the Andes mountain range from western Venezuela south to Bolivia, with sightings reported from eastern Panama and extreme northern Argentina.