WASHINGTON — A pair of unbearably cute Andean bear cubs have ventured out of their den to make a public debut at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C.
The adorable brother cubs were born to 4-year-old mother Brienne and 9-year-old father Quito in November 2022. These bears are the fourth cubs born at the NZCBI since 2010.
"These cubs are extremely important to the Species Survival Plan demographically and genetically since Quito's genes are new to the North American population," Sara Colandrea, NZCBI animal keeper and North American Andean bear studbook keep and SSP coordinator, said in a press release.
Andean bears, also known as the spectacled bear, are native to South America and live in a variety of mountain habitats. Andean bears are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. It is estimated that there are only 2,000 left in the wild, NZCBI said in a statement.
These species have spectacles encircle markings around their eyes that look like they're wearing eyeglasses. Andean bears are relatively small, these species grow 5 to 6 feet long and stand 2 to 3 feet high at the shoulder, according to the NZCBI.
The cubs are now at the exhibit near the lower entrance to American Trail at the bottom of the zoo. Visitors can watch these cute cubs on through the zoo's Andean Bear Cub Cam.
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