One of Chester Zoo’s most precious new arrivals has finally emerged from its cosy den!
The gorgeous Andean bear cub was born in January 2017, but has spent months snuggled away.
Now, with the help of doting mum Lima, the cub has been exploring its surroundings for the very first time.
Curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, Tim Rowlands, says, ‘the cub was tiny when it was born but Lima is doing a fantastic job, particularly given that she’s a first time mum, and the cub is developing quickly.’
‘Lima is keeping her new charge close and she certainly has her paws full. Even though she’s not letting it stray too far from her side, we can already see that her cub has a real playful side.’
The Andean bear, which was made famous by children’s book Paddington Bear, is the only bear native to South America.
One big bear family!
The bear necessities of life will come to you
He's truly dedicated to saving the lives of wild bears
But sadly, the reality for Andean bears is far from wellington boots and marmalade sandwiches.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature have listed Andean bears as vulnerable and scientists believe that only 20,000 still exist in the wild.
The main threat they face in is a loss of habitat and lack of food, unsurprising given that 30% of the forests that contain enough food for these adorable bears have been destroyed in the past years.
This cub is the first of its kind to ever be born in the mainland of Great Britain – which is an incredible achievement for the future of this species.
Tim explains, ‘Andean bears are still something of a mystery to conservationists and not a huge amount is known about them.’
‘By working closely with the bears here, breaking new ground with this breeding, we’re constantly learning about this amazing species.’
‘We’re able to relay much of this information to our field conservation teams and partners in the wild, and it’s information that could be very important in terms of ensuring a long-term future for the bears.’
At the moment the cub is still too young to be sexed and as a result doesn’t have a name, but zoo keepers couldn’t be more pleased with its progress.
Watch the video above to watch this cute cub show off his playful side!