Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo Welcomes New Andean Bear
Andean bears are the only South American bear species
Populations are declining due to habitat loss and hunting
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Interview With Queens Zoo Director Scott Silver www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFfI8WU5CXI
Flushing, N.Y. – Nov. 14, 2013 - The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo is home to a new Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the only bear species endemic to South America.
The Andean bear is native to Andean lowlands in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina. The species is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The new bear, Bouba, is a two–year-old male that came to Queens from a zoo in France. He shares a habitat with a female Andean bear named Spangles.
“Bouba’s energy will make him a star,” said Scott Silver, Animal Curator and Director of the Queens Zoo. “He represents an important addition to the Andean bear breeding program among zoos in the United States.”
Silver is the Species Survival Plan (SSP) Coordinator for Andean bears for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The SSP is a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in zoos accredited by the AZA. There are currently 55 Andean bears in 26 accredited zoos.
Bouba weighs approximately 220 pounds and could weigh up to 350 pounds as an adult.
The Andean bear is also known as the spectacled bear because some individuals have white markings around their eyes that resemble eyeglasses. Their populations in the wild are declining due to habitat loss and hunting.
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 the generous contributions from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Zoological Society, the Andean Bear Conservation Alliance, and other supporters.
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The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park in Queens. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit www.queenszoo.com.