Committed conservationist Chester Zoo recently rejoiced at the arrival of a rare Andean bear from Bolivia in South America.
The 10-year-old is a male named Oberon, or “Obe” for short. He was recently welcomed at the zoo after experts selected him as an ideal genetic match for Chester’s resident female bear, three-year-old Pacha.
The zoo now hopes that the couple will get along well and produce a cub together soon. Its aim is to help boost bear population as part of its involvement in a conservation breeding programme operating throughout Europe that is dedicated to protecting the species.
Chester’s Director Animals and Plants, Mike Jordan, commented:
“Male Andean bear Oberon has settled in nicely since arriving here in Chester, spending his time exploring, climbing trees, and checking out the sights and scents of his new home. His arrival is an exciting new chapter for Andean bears in European conservation zoos like ours.”
Andean bears entered the limelight thanks to the beloved character from children’s literature, Paddington Bear, created by Thomas Michael Bon CBE. While in the books Paddington was found by the Browns at the London train station, he was originally from Peru.
Due to their unique circular markings, which are often golden and present around the eyes, Andean bears are sometimes referred to as “Spectacled Bears”.
This robust species of bear is specially adapted to cope with the challenges of the mountainous regions where they dwell. They have thick, shaggy fur to keep them warm and powerful jaws they can use to eat hardened vegetation.
“Oberon” and his companions can now be seen at Chester’s beloved zoo.