Andean Bear Cub Update: Mom Knows Best

This update was written by animal keeper Sara Colandrea.

At six-week-old, the cubs’ eyes have opened and their favorite spot continues to be curled up with mother Brienne. She’s becoming more confident as a mom. She’s been leaving the cubs for short periods to eat and defecate. Brienne’s appetite has increased, a good sign the cubs are nursing well as she needs more energy. She also started venturing out of the den with a cub in tow!

On Dec. 29, keepers witnessed Brienne carrying one of the cubs out of the den and into the larger indoor space.

Like cats, bears carry their young by the nape of the neck, often called “scruffing”. However, carrying young takes practice. We have seen new mothers carry cubs by the mid-section, walk around with a cub's whole head in her mouth and by the ear! Don’t worry – these cubs are built tough and no one is injured during this kind of learning curve.

For me, what’s most amazing to observe is how as a first-time mom Brienne just knows what to do to care for her cubs. She has knowledge of cub rearing from when she was reared by her mom. It's truly phenomenal.  

Tune in to the Andean Bear Cub Cam to hear and catch quick glimpses of the cubs. Stay tuned for more of our favorite cam moments and look for another keeper update soon!