Andean bears are the only South American bear species

Populations are declining due to habitat loss and hunting

B-Roll Video: YouTube:

Download: Queens Zoo Andean Bears

WCS Newsroom:


Flushing, N.Y. – Nov. 6, 2015 – WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Queens Zoo is home to a new female Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the only bear species endemic to South America.

 The new bear, Nicole, is almost three years old. She shares a habitat with Bouba, a male Andean bear that arrived at the zoo from France in 2013.

The addition of Nicole to the bear habitat brings an excitement to the exhibit that our guests will surely enjoy,” said Scott Silver, Animal Curator and Director of the Queens Zoo. “With only a handful of breeding pairs of Andean bears in all of the United States, pairing Nicole and Bouba up in Queens is an important addition to the breeding population these bears in the United States.”

The Queens Zoo brought these two bears together as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Silver is the AZA’s SSP coordinator for Andean bears.

Andean bears are native to the slopes and lowlands of the Andean mountains in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.. Wild populations are declining due to habitat loss and hunting. The species is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The species is also referred to as the spectacled bear because some individuals have white markings around their eyes that resemble eyeglasses. 

WCS conducts research on Andean bears across Latin America, from Ecuador to Venezuela. Throughout these countries, WCS aims to develop local capacity to conserve the habitat of the Andean bear and mitigate a variety of threats to them, including human-wildlife conflict and habitat destruction for agriculture. 

WCS’s Andean bear conservation work is made possible by generous contributions from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo through the Andean Bear Conservation Alliance, along with other supporters

For more information or to speak with a WCS expert, contact Barbara Russo at 718-265-3428 or

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park in Queens. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.


Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428;

Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182;

Steve Fairchild – 718-220- 5189;

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Video Credit: © WCS