Chester Zoo welcomes rare Andean bear to 'help save his species'

Friday, 29 September 2023 - 18:39

Chester Zoo has introduced a rare Andean bear named Oberon, affectionately known as Obe, to its facilities. The 10-year-old bear is considered the perfect genetic match for the zoo's three-year-old female bear, Pacha. These bears, which share the same species as the iconic fictional character Paddington Bear, are facing a high risk of extinction.

Oberon was brought to Chester Zoo from another facility as part of a conservation breeding program. The zookeepers introduced Obe and Pacha, and they have been mating successfully. Experts hope that this pairing will result in the birth of Andean bear cubs in the near future. These bears have a short gestation period of about 60 days and feature delayed implantation, meaning the fertilized egg takes time to implant in the uterus.

With fewer than 10,000 Andean bears left in the wild, the breeding program aims to contribute to the conservation of this endangered species. These bears are native to South America and are the only living species of bear in the region.

Andean Bears are also known as ‘spectacled’ bears due to the circular golden markings that can occur around their eyes.

The fascinating animals are uniquely adapted to challenging mountainous habitats and possess a thick, shaggy coat and powerful jaws used for eating hardened vegetive matter in the harsh climates of the Andes.

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