There are two new adorable baby bears at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) em Washington, D.C.
Brienne, a 3-year-old Andean bear, gave birth to the rare cubs on Nov. 15 — the first time in eight years that the National Zoo has welcomed newborns of this species. Nine-year-old Quito is the father of the baby bears.
“For a new couple like Brienne and Quito, it is great to see all of the management, Ciência, and time that we have put into this species culminate in such a great way,” said Sara Colandrea, an NZCBI animal keeper, in a release about the birth.
“We’re looking forward to watching Brienne navigate motherhood and, claro, all the cute antics we’re bound to see from little bear cubs!” ela adicionou.
The National Zoo noted that the cubs are “active and vocal,” and the zoo’s staff is “cautiously optimistic” that the baby bears will continue to develop at a healthy rate.
NZCBI is monitoring the bear family through video footage to avoid interfering with Brienne’s bonding time with her newborns. Keepers have observed Brienne grooming the little bears and encouraging them to nurse.
The cubs won’t make their public debut at the zoo until the spring, when they are about three months old, but animal lovers can watch the bear family virtually on the National Zoo’s website for now. Zookeepers will determine the sex of each cub closer to the animals’ public debut.
NZCBI is curious about what kind of personalities the little bears will develop — whether they will be more “curious and daring” like mom or “quiet and reserved” like dad.
Brienne arrived at the National Zoo in September 2020, and father bear Quito moved to the facility from Zoo Duisburg in Germany in November 2017.
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The bear pair bred in late March and early April, and the babies were detected via ultrasound in late October. The bear cubs are the fourth litter born at the zoo since 2010.
Andean bears are rare. There are an estimated 2,000 bears left in the wild, per NZCBI.