Andean bear cubs on display at Queens Zoo

Two Andean bear cubs born at the Queens Zoo over the summer are now on public display. 

The cubs, a male and a female, don't have names yet. Their parents are Nicole and Bouba, who have produced five offspring in three litters, the zoo said in a news release.

The cubs spent months in a den nursing and bonding with their mother. Now they're actively exploring the outdoor bear habitat.

"Andean bears face significant challenges in the wild due to habitat fragmentation and poaching," Queens Zoo Director Mike Allen said in a statement. "It's important for us to invest both in conservation programs to protect them in their native habitat and to maintain a healthy insurance population in zoos."

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The Andean bear is the only bear species native to South America. They are relatively small compared to other species of bear; adult males weigh between 250 and 350 pounds, while adult females usually weigh 200 pounds or less, according to the zoo.

"These youngsters will surely captivate our guests and help people make a connection with the species," Allen said.

The Queens Zoo, located inside Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, is open every day.

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The Wildlife Conservation Society's mission is to save "wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature," according to its website. In addition to the Queens Zoo, WCS runs the Prospect Park Zoo, the New York Aquarium, the Queens Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, and the Bronx Zoo, its flagship property.

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Two Andean bear cubs play with their mother at the Queens Zoo.  (WCS/Julie Larsen Maher)