Andean bear cub born at Phoenix Zoo

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Zoo is celebrating the birth of an Andean bear cub born to 17-year-old Rio in early January.

Zoo officials said the mother and her cub are doing well. Animal care staff are monitoring the two, but say they will leave Rio to bond with her cub without any interference.

The cub's birth is significant because Rio and her mate Billie Jean are the only Andean bears in North American zoos who have been able to successfully reproduce.

Zoo officials said this is the fourth cub for Rio, but for unknown reasons, the other three did not live more than seven days.

Staff are monitoring Rio and her cub with a baby monitor, but do not have any pictures of the new cub at this time. Officials said it could even be several more weeks or months before zoo staff sees the cub.

Andean bears are a small, largely vegetarian bear from the Andes Mountains in South America. They are called spectacled bears due to the white markings on their faces which make them look as if they are wearing glasses.


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