The Animal Facts Editorial Team
March 15, 2023 6:46 pm
San Diego Zoo, California, The United States
San Diego Zoo have introduced twin Andean bear cubs born at the world famous attraction, the first twins born there since 1993. Second-time mother Alba gave birth to her cubs in December 2022, the sire is Turbo.
At 3 months old the cubs have begun taking their first adventures out in to the outdoor habitat at the zoo. Until now they have been bonding with Alba in an off display den area where keepers have been able to monitor the young family through a closed-circuit video camera and an audio “baby monitor,” allowing Alba to care for her youngsters without interruption.
Like all bear cubs, a baby Andean bear is helpless and dependent on its mother for the first few weeks after birth. Andean bear cubs both in the wild and zoos spend the first 3 months in the den.
This marks the first time since 1993 that twin bear cubs have been born at the San Diego Zoo. Those cubs were born to Alba’s grandmother, Houdini. This is the second litter of cubs for Alba who welcomed a male cub known as Agapito in 2020. He was the first Andean bear cub born in San Diego since the 1990s. San Diego Zoo have welcomed 11 Andean bear cubs since they begun caring for the species in 1938.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the birth of Alba’s twin cubs,” said Tammy Batson, lead wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo. “We witnessed Alba transition beautifully into motherhood with her first cub a couple of years ago, and now as a second-time mother with twins, she continues to impress us with her attentiveness. She’s a proven mom, who now has both hands full.”
This species has been listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. They are threatened by habitat loss and poaching. Despite protections under international law they are threatened by hunting for their meat, parts and fat. Estimates of their population vary between 2,500 and 10,000 individuals.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance have been supporting research and conservation of wild Andean bears in Peru since 2008.
Andean bears are also known as the spectacled bear. Find out where this name comes from in our fact file.
The spectacled bear is an expert tree climber with long claws which help to pull them up the trees. This adaptation is attributed as one of the main reasons they are the last surviving bear in South America.
Image: © Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
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