What does an Andean bear's diet look like?
The bears get a variety of fruits, including apples, pears, mangoes, papayas and melons. Keepers also offer sweet potatoes and root vegetables. Hardboiled eggs, frozen-thawed fish and nuts are a staple of the bears’ diets as well.
What enrichment do they receive?
Like all bears, Andean bears are very intelligent. It can be a challenge to keep them entertained!
Keepers want to encourage the bears to explore their habitats, so they will place tires, kegs and boomer balls inside for Billie Jean, Quito and Brienne to pick up, play with and toss around.
Puzzle feeders are another favorite item of the bears; keepers fill them with pieces of fruit, vegetables, fish and nuts. The bears have to shake, roll and knock the toys around to get the treats out. This gives them a cognitive workout, too, as they need to think about how to get the treats from the feeders into their stomachs!
"They are all very inquisitive and intelligent" says animal keeper Sara Colandrea. "When we present them with enrichment items, I can see their minds at work, figuring out how to get them apart."
Keepers also sprinkle spices or spray extracts around the bears' habitat. When Billie jean, Quito and Brienne find them, they rub the substance all over their bodies — a behavior called scent-anointing!