Two Andean bear cubs born in November 2022 have made their debut at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
The cubs, Ian and Sean, can be seen exploring the yard with their mother, who they will remain with for the next year as they continue to grow and adapt.
Ian and Sean were born to 3-year-old mother Brienne and 9-year-old father Quito at the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) on Nov. 15—the first Andean cub birth at the institute in eight years.
Andean bears are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, with approximately 2,000 Andean bears believed to be left in the wild, specifically in South America.
“For vulnerable animals like Andean bears, an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a critical program to safely maintaining ex situ populations,” Sara Colandrea, NZCBI animal keeper and North American Andean bear studbook keeper and SSP coordinator, said in a press release. “We work with other AZA-accredited zoos across the world to coordinate breeding that ensures genetic diversity for the long-term survival of the species. Once grown, if Ian and Sean are selected as studs, they provide more genetic diversity within the U.S. population.”
Visitors can see the trio on view at the zoo every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please visit nationalzoo.si.edu.