Just in time for spring break, two male Andean bear cubs named Sean and Ian are now on view at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) in Washington, D.C. Over the past few weeks, the animal care team has worked with the brothers to prepare them for the transition. Cubs Ian and Sean began exploring the yard in mid-March alongside their mother, 4-year-old Brienne. For the past four months, members of the public have joined animal care staff in observing the cubs play and explore via a live Andean Bear Cub Cam and follow along with their growth through online “cubdates.”
The cubs, born Nov. 15, 2022, are the first cubs born to Brienne and 9-year-old father Quito. Ian and Sean will spend the next year with Brienne as they continue to grow, and visitors can see the bears, as well as Quito, on exhibit near the lower entrance to American Trail exhibit, weather permitting. Andean bears have unique facial markings that visitors can use to differentiate the bears. Ian has a triangle patch on his forehead similar to his great grandmother Billie Jean’s, while Sean has a hook over his right eye like Quito
Sean and Ian are more than just cute, playful cubs, though. Their births were significant for the population of Andean bears in human care; they are the fourth litter of cubs born at NZCBI since 2010.