Insanely Cute Andean Bear Cub, First of Its Species Ever Born in NYC, Debuts at Queens Zoo

An adorable Andean bear cub, the first of its species ever born in New York City, has made his public debut at the Queens Zoo. Take a look at some photos.

8 photos
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
The male cub was born over the winter to mother Nicole, 4, and father Bouba, 6. He now weighs 25 pounds and is venturing into the zoo's bear habitat with his mom to start exploring.
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
The sublimely sweet cub doesn't have a name yet, and exhibit times will vary until he becomes fully acclimated to his outdoor surroundings.
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Andean bears are the only bear species native to South America. They tend to have short faces and are relatively small compared with other bear species. As adults, males weigh up to 350 pounds while females rarely weigh more than 200 pounds.
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
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).
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
The cub's father, Bouba, came all the way from France to breed with the bear's mother, Nicole, in Queens. Nicole was born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and came to the Queens Zoo in 2015.
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Queens Zoo Director and Animal Curator Scott Silver called the birth of the cub "significant" for the zoo and the breeding program.
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
"This little guy may be adorable, but more importantly he reminds us of what we stand to lose when a species is in danger of extinction," Silver said in a statement. "We are excited to introduce the cub to New York and to share the work WCS and our partners are doing to save Andean bears and many other species in the wild.”
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Julie Larsen Maher
Andean bears are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Estimates indicate there are fewer than 18,000 remaining in the wild, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
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