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San Diego Zoo celebrates Andean bear cub twins


The cubs have ventured out of their private den to the guest-facing habitat for the first time

Disclaimer: This is not a photo of Alba, Turbo, or the twin cubs (photocech/stock.adobe.com)

Disclaimer: This is not a photo of Alba, Turbo, or the twin cubs (photocech/stock.adobe.com)

The San Diego Zoo announced that its 3-month-old twin Andean bear cubs have ventured out to meet guests for the first time. The twins have remained in a private den with wildlife care specialists observing them through a closed-circuit video camera and an audio “baby monitor.”

Born to second-time mother Alba and Sire Turbo in December 2022, this is the first set of twin Andean bear clubs born at the zoo since 1993. Alba’s grandmother, Houdini, was the last Andean bear to give birth to twins Sombra and Quixote. In 2020, Alba gave birth to her first cub, a male named Agapito, who was the first Andean bear cub born at the zoo since Sombra and Quixote.1

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the birth of Alba’s twin cubs,” said Tammy Batson, lead wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo, in an organizational release.1 “We witnessed Alba transition beautifully into motherhood with her first cub a couple of years ago, and now as a second-time mother with twins, she continues to impress us with her attentiveness. She’s a proven mom, who now has both hands full.”

According to the release, Andean bear cubs are helpless and dependent on their mothers, and the mother and cubs bond in an isolated den.1 In the wild, the cubs venture out of their den at around 3 months but remain close to their mother for at least the first year. Currently, the cubs and mothers have access to their den and habitat while remaining under observation from wildlife care specialists.

Normally found in the Andes Mountain countries of Venezuela and Bolivia, Andean bears are labeled Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red Liar of Threatened Species List because of habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and challenges to human-wildlife coexistence.

This birth is going to help researchers learn more about the bears because very little is known about these bears in their natural habitat due to their shy nature. Researchers will use this new birth to better understand the dynamic between mothers and cubs, cub development, and more about the species.


Andean bear cub twins born at the San Diego Zoo—a first in nearly 30 years—are venturing out of their den to explore guest-facing habitat. News release. San Diego Zoo. March 14, 2023. Accessed March 20, 2023. https://sandiegozoowildlifealliance.org/pr/AndeanBearCubTwins

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