October 4, 2023

The San Diego Zoo carries on to rejoice the arrival of twin Andean bear cubs—now a few months outdated and venturing out of their non-public den into the visitor-struggling with habitat. The cubs had been born in December 2022 to 2nd-time mom Alba and sire Turbo. Due to the fact the twins’ delivery, wildlife treatment specialists have been closely observing the bears by way of a closed-circuit video clip digital camera and an audio “baby watch,” letting Alba to care for her youngsters with out interruption until finally they had been prepared to depart the den.

The arrival of Alba’s cubs marked the initial time that twin Andean bear cubs have been born at San Diego Zoo since 1993—when Alba’s grandmother, Houdini, gave beginning to twins Sombra and Quixote. Alba previously gave start to a male cub named Agapito in 2020—and he was the very first Andean bear cub born at San Diego Zoo given that 1993.

“We couldn’t be additional thrilled about the birth of Alba’s twin cubs,” mentioned Tammy Batson, direct wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo. “We witnessed Alba transition beautifully into motherhood with her 1st cub a pair of many years in the past, and now as a 2nd-time mom with twins, she proceeds to impress us with her attentiveness. She’s a confirmed mom, who now has equally arms total.”

Like other newborn bears, Andean bear cubs are helpless and completely dependent on their mothers. Alba cared for and bonded with her cubs in their den for the first several months, behind their guest-experiencing habitat and off general public view. In their native South American forests, Andean bear cubs typically go away their dens at all around 3 months of age and are believed to continue to be shut to their mothers for at minimum the first calendar year. Wildlife treatment professionals keep on to check Alba and her cubs, who have obtain to equally their den and out of doors habitat.

Andean bears have been to start with cared for at the San Diego Zoo in 1938, and due to the fact then, 11 cubs have been born. A female offers start to just one, two or hardly ever three cubs in an isolated den, but it is not acknowledged how she chooses her den. The limited details accessible suggests they decide on dens in unusually rugged areas. All maternal dens uncovered so much have been similar to nests, on the ground or in cavities underneath rocks. Andean bears are the last remaining relative of the extinct huge limited-faced bear, and are the only bear species indigenous to South The usa.

The Andean bear is mentioned as Susceptible on the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Mother nature Crimson List of Threatened Species. The main threats to this species are habitat loss and fragmentation, difficulties to human-wildlife coexistence and poaching. Andean bear habitat is getting misplaced at a fee of close to 2–4% for every yr because of to local weather change, mining and lumber operations, and farming. The bears are guarded by international trade laws, but they are nonetheless illegally hunted for their meat, extra fat and overall body elements. It is unclear how quite a few bears continue being in their native habitat, with estimates ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 grown ups.

The start of these two cubs is important for conservation investigate. Even though Andean bears are typically diurnal, really minor is identified about them in their native habitat, because of their shy mother nature and tendency to steer clear of individuals. The bears are indigenous to Andes mountain nations around the world from Venezuela to Bolivia, ordinarily living in dense and rugged forests, as nicely as grasslands and scrublands. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance now has still yet another chance to discover far more about the interactions among a mother and her cubs, as well as cub advancement. Andean bears in human care serve as a security web for dwindling populations in indigenous habitats, and give biologists a likelihood to reply a myriad of organic concerns about the species, acquire noninvasive procedures for use in area conservation operate, and much better recognize Andean bear physiology and actions, to aid the populace.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has been researching Andean bears for over 14 several years, and since 2008 has worked with several associates to investigate and conserve bears in Peru. Collaborative work is underway on the Manu landscape of southeast Peru to document Andean bear presence and characterize vital elements of bear ecology and behavior—such as foraging behavior, path use and marking behavior—to establish the place these bears are living, and how they interact with their natural environment and plants in their assorted habitats. Extra work focuses on genetic diversity throughout Colombia, Ecuador and Peru—a huge portion of the species’ array. To enhance long run conservation investigation and planning, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance presents prospects, mentorship and ecological training for professionals and students in and all over Peru.