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6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Andean Bears

By Maria Anderson

Giant pandas. Grizzlies. Polar bears. You’ve probably heard a lot about these bear species, but what about Andean bears?

To the Quechua and Aymara, the indigenous communities of the Andes, Andean bears are known for being loving and happy, seeking harmony and balance in nature. They are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, with an estimated 20,000 left in the wild.

Craig Saffoe, curator of Andean bears at the National Zoo, reveals six more things you probably didn’t know about Andean bears:

Three of the five Andean bear cub litters born at North American zoos in the past 10 years were at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Visit the National Zoo’s website to learn more about these fascinating bears.


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