BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) – The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is now home to a two-year-old female Andean bear named Nuna, according to officials.
The zoo announced on Monday that Nuna completed her 30-day quarantine from the Queens Zoo in New York. She has joined 20-year-old Cayambe in the zoo’s new Andean bear habitat.
Nuna’s name means soul, or spirit, in the language spoken by the indigenous Quechua people of the Peruvian Andes, according to zoo officials.
Andean bears are classified as a vulnerable species, due to their declining population in South America. The animals suffer from fragmentation and destruction of their habitats in the wild because of deforestation, zoo officials said.
“Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo continues to grow, allowing us to expand on our mission of animal conservation and education. We’re pleased to welcome Nuna as another chapter in the story of diversity and richness of life in South America,” Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho said.
The Beardsley Zoo opened the Andean bear habitat in May. The zoo hopes to welcome four or five Andean bears into the habitat in the future, in addition to a nursery with heated floors.
The habitat features trees, rock caves, a swimming pod and a hammock for the bears. Andean bears do not hibernate like North American bears and will use their habitat all year long.
As the bears are native to the Andes and outlying mountain ranges they are a part of the Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program, Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
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