Two Andean bear cubs have finally ventured out of their private den at the San Diego Zoo, ready to meet the world.
The San Diego Zoo's population of Andean bears has more than doubled in the past few years. Alba gave birth to her first cub in 2020, the zoo's first in thirty years. Only a couple years later, her family was ready to grow even more. The zoo was excited to welcome its newest twin members in December of 2022.
The twins spent their first three months in a private den with their mama, while zookeepers monitored them through a camera. According to the zoo, it is essential even in the wild for Andean cubs to be with their mother for those first months since they are vulnerable and very dependent. When they feel ready, they will start to explore, leaving the den a little at a time. They don't tend to go very far independently until they are at least a year old.
Andean bears are struggling to keep their numbers up. There are an estimated 2,000 left in the wild, placing them in the vulnerable category on the threatened species list. Native to South America in countries like Peru and Venezuela, there are many conservation projects to keep the species alive. You can read here about all the things San Deigo Zoo is doing to help. Then, make a trip over there and maybe you'll catch a glimpse of the twins in action.
Twins are a rare occurrence in any species, but as luck would have it, Alba's grandmother gave birth to twins back in 1993. It seems to be in their genetics to help bring back the population, one, or two, adorable little bear cubs at a time.
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