It’s in Queens
#PickoftheWeek | Cute and cuddly cub quickly becomes crowd favorite
Queens makes history again.
The first Andean bear ever to be born in New York City entered the world at Queens Zoo over the winter. Now, the cute, cuddly cub is about eight-months-old and making public appearances with his mother, Nicole, in the Flushing Meadows Corona Park facility.
This still-unnamed, fluffy, dark-haired male weighs more than 50 pounds and he’s become a crowd favorite, spending his days exploring his habitat, searching for water, climbing rocks, and taking naps. His mother is about twice as big as he is now, but they should be the same size by the time he celebrates his first birthday in January 2018. (He will probably top off at 300 pounds.)
The birth was actually part of a plan to save the species from extinction. Queens Zoo, which is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, is breeding Andean bears as part of a survival program because they are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. According to studies, there are fewer than 18,000 Andean bears in the wild, and they are threatened by poaching, agricultural development, and exploration for mining and oil.
The youngster’s father, Bouba, was brought to Queens from France specifically to breed with Nicole, who is one of only six female Andean bears in North America who can procreate. She had relocated from the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC a bit earlier. This is their first child.
As the name suggests, Andean bears are native to South America. They roam from Argentina to Panama, and most have markings on their faces that resemble glasses.
Like all youngsters, this cub is growing up really fast. So zoo officials suggest visiting him as soon as possible.
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Images: Julie Larsen Maher