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Newswise — New York, June 3, 2024 – Three 5-month-old Andean bear cubs are debuting at the Queens Zoo, marking a rare occurrence as Andean bears typically only have one or two cubs at a time.

The cubs were born on January 3 this year, including two males and one female. With these births, eight Andean bear cubs (Tremarctos ornatus) have been born at the Queens Zoo since 1995.  Since birth, they have been cared for by their mother in the birthing den, and the cubs have now reached the age when they are able to venture outdoors.

The Queens Zoo is breeding Andean bears as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The three cubs born at Queens Zoo are the only three born in the AZA population in the past 12 months.

Currently, there are 33 Andean bears in AZA zoos. Andean bears, also known as spectacled bears, can grow five to six feet long. Adult males are significantly larger than females and may weigh up to 340 pounds while females generally weigh around 200 pounds. Andean bears have white to cream markings around their eyes, muzzle, and chest. They are an arboreal animal which nests in trees for eating and sleeping.

Listed as Vulnerable by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Andean bears are the only bears found in South America. The species can be found in the Tropical Andes of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

The IUCN estimates there are fewer than 18,000 bears now surviving in the wild. Deforestation and hunting as a result of conflicts with cattle and corn production have caused a dramatic decline in Andean bear populations. The Queens Zoo is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society which works to protect Andean bear populations in the wild.




Queens Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

WCS combines the power of its zoos and an aquarium in New York City and a Global Conservation Program in more than 50 countries to achieve its mission to save wildlife and wild places. WCS runs the world’s largest conservation field program, protecting more than 50 percent of Earth’s known biodiversity; in partnership with governments, Indigenous People, Local Communities, and the private sector. It’s four zoos and aquarium (the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium ) welcome more than 3.5 million visitors each year, inspiring generations to care for nature. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: +1 (347) 840-1242Listen to the WCS Wild Audio podcast HERE.

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