November 14, 2013
Our new Andean bear, Bouba, travelled all the way from France to make a home in Queens. Only two years old, he’s moved in with long-time resident Spangles, a female.
The youngster weighs about 220 pounds now, but could grow up to 350 pounds as an adult. He is already larger than Spangles, but the two share a trademark Andean bear trait–white markings around their eyes. This characteristic gave way to the species’ nickname, the “spectacled” bear.
Native to South America, these bears’ populations are in decline due to habitat loss and hunting. Bouba’s introduction is important to the Andean bear breeding program, part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.