Pitter patter of little bear paws
Bahia is five years old and a first-time mum. She and the cub are both doing well and all staff and keepers are very pleased with the new arrival.
Senior Mammal Keeper Jenna Hunt says this is really exciting news. “This is the first birth of a healthy cub at Durrell for 20 years. This infant is a welcome addition to the European captive population for this threatened species of bear.”
Jenna worked very closely with Bahia to get her used to sitting still and presenting her belly at the mesh during her pregnancy. This enabled the vet to conduct weekly ultrasounds and closely monitor progress. Bahia was carrying two infants, but sadly one cub did not survive.
Mark Brayshaw, Head of Animal Collections says, “Although it’s still early days, the surviving cub appears to be thriving and growing stronger by the day. ”
Bahia is currently nursing her cub in a specially constructed den equipped with high definition infra-red cameras. This enables keepers to closely track her progress and keep an eye on the little cub.
The den was made possible by the sponsorship of ABN AMRO Private Banking Jersey. Country Executive & CEO Jersey Bilal Majid said: "Congratulations to Bahia and Quechua! We are truly delighted to hear the wonderful news of their eagerly awaited baby. It's a testament to Durrell and its staff's tireless efforts to make this happen. We, at ABN AMRO, are honoured that we could contribute to the success of Durrell's breeding programme."
The cub will remain in the den with Bahia for another few months and will only emerge when Bahia allows it to. Mother and cub will remain off-show throughout this period.
Members of the public should be able to come and see Durrell’s newest addition around the end of April or beginning of May. In the meantime, Durrell will be posting regular videos of Bahia and her cub from inside the den on its social media sites.
Andean bears are also known as spectacled bears and they’re the only species of bears native to South America. They are listed as vulnerable in the wild and face an uncertain future due to habitat loss.