WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Billie Jean, the National Zoo's six-year-old Andean bear, gave birth to two cubs early in the morning of December 13, according to zoo officials.
Her first cub was born at 12:01 a.m. and the second at 2:02 a.m. Billie Jean, who's experienced at motherhood, and both her cubbies are doing fine, the Zoo says.
Last week the Zoo reported that Billie Jean's sonograms showed two "small distinct amniotic sacs" and "fetal growth and development," meaning she could give birth for the second time. She is already the mother of Bernardo and Chaska, born in Jan. 2010.
Newborn Andean bear cubs weighing 10 to 18 ounces at birth, are practically bald, toothless and blind. Billie Jean appears to be cuddling her new little ones, whose genders are not yet known.
These cubs, like Bernardo and Chaska, were fathered by Nikki, who was humanely euthanized in August after a yearlong battle with squamous cell carcinoma (cancer). Nikki and Billie Jean's natural breeding took place in April.
The Andean bear population in human care has experienced a lull in the past six years. If Billie Jean does give birth successfully, the cubs will be the only surviving Andean cubs in a North American Zoo since her first cubs were born.
And the last surviving Andean bear born in North America before that was Billie Jean herself.
Andean bears-also known as spectacled bears-are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, and it is estimated that there are only 2,000 left in their natural habitat.