2015-11-11 / Front Page

WCS’s Queens Zoo Welcomes New Andean Bear

Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Queens Zoo is home to a new female Andean bear who will share a habitat with Bouba, a male Andean bear that arrived at the zoo from France in 2013. It is hoped they will breed, as they are listed as “Vulnerable”  by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Photos Julie Larsen Maher © WCSWildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Queens Zoo is home to a new female Andean bear who will share a habitat with Bouba, a male Andean bear that arrived at the zoo from France in 2013. It is hoped they will breed, as they are listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Photos Julie Larsen Maher © WCSWildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Queens Zoo is home to a new female Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the only bear species endemic to South America.
The new bear, Nicole, is almost three years old. She shares a habitat with Bouba, a male Andean bear that arrived at the zoo from France in 2013.
“The addition of Nicole to the bear habitat brings an excitement to the exhibit that our guests will surely enjoy,” said Scott Silver, Animal Curator and Director of the Queens Zoo. “With only a handful of breeding pairs of Andean bears in all of the United States, pairing Nicole and Bouba up in Queens is an important addition to the breeding population of these bears in the United States.”
The Queens Zoo brought these two bears together 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 accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Silver is the AZA SSP Coordinator for Andean bears.
Andean bears are native to the slopes and lowlands of the Andean mountains in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Wild populations are declining due to habitat loss and hunting. The species is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The species is also referred to as the spectacled bear because some individuals have white markings around their eyes that resemble eyeglasses.
WCS conducts research on Andean bears across Latin America, from Ecuador to Venezuela. Throughout these countries, WCS aims to develop local capacity to conserve the habitat of the Andean bear and mitigate a variety of threats to them, including human-wildlife conflict and habitat destruction for agriculture.
WCS’s Andean bear conservation work is made possible by generous contributions from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo through the Andean Bear Conservation Alliance, along with other supporters
For more information or to speak with a WCS expert, contact Barbara Russo at 718-265-3428 or brusso@wcs.org.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo is open every day of the year and is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Admission is $5-$8. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit www.queenszoo.com.


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