Tierpark Animal News
Little black bear beneath a big blue sky
Hesitantly, the little brown-faced black bear follows his mother outside. A little later, he is already gambolling through the grass, sniffing inquisitively at a tree stump. Today, Tierpark Berlin’s new spectacled bear appeared to the public for the very first time.
After almost four months in the birthing den, mother Julia (20) is now spending time out in the fresh air with her new cub. There is plenty for the youngster to explore in the large outdoor habitat, with its high rocks, climbing trees, and small hills. “The cub seems quite confident,” says bear curator Dr Florian Sicks. “Young spectacled bears become increasingly independent from the age of three or four months and learn to climb early. That’s important in the wild, as they need to be able to clamber up trees to escape from predators.” The climbing trees at Tierpark Berlin reach up to nine metres high, but young spectacled bears can easily scale even such dizzying heights.
“The new spectacled bear cub represents an important contribution to the global population of this bear species,” explains Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem. “So I’m particularly pleased that the cub is developing so well.” The Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the spectacled bear as “Vulnerable”. The main threat to their survival is habitat destruction caused by deforestation and conversion of land for agricultural use. In addition, spectacled bears that wander onto fields in search of food – either crops or domestic animals – are often killed by their human rivals. Spectacled bears are primarily herbivorous, but occasionally add protein to their diet in the form of insects, rodents, and sometimes larger animals like domestic sheep.
The young spectacled bear is currently unnamed. If a sponsor is found, he or she will be able to work with the keepers to decide on a suitable name.
Tierpark Berlin welcomed its new spectacled bear on 26 December 2017. It is the seventh cub born to experienced mother Julia (20), and the second sired by Carlos (21). Spectacled bears have been living at Tierpark Berlin since 1956, just one year after it opened. A total of 17 spectacled bear cubs have grown up at the Tierpark.
Bear curator Dr Florian Sicks has been the coordinator of the European Endangered Species Programme for the spectacled bear since October 2017. It is his job to keep the population of these bears in Europe as stable and healthy as possible. This great responsibility is only given to zoos and curators with a high level of expertise.