Jersey Zoo to say goodbye to Andean bears after 60 years being cared for on-island

Bahia (left) and Chui (right) are the latest in a long line of Andean bears to call Jersey Zoo their home Credit: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Jersey Zoo is saying goodbye to its Andean bears after decades of being cared for on the island.

The species - which is also known as the spectacled bear due to its white markings around each eye - is the only surviving species of short-faced bear in the world.

The first Andean bears arrived at Jersey Zoo in 1963, just four years after Gerald Durrell founded the park.

Quechua and Bahia, the zoo's current residents, have been there since 2013.

The pair are set to move to Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, which Jersey Zoo said will allow them "space to roam and explore in a larger enclosure".

They are set to leave the island in November, which was "a move planned since the start of the year" according to a Durrell statement.

It continued: "Chui and Bahia are valuable contributors to a special breeding programme working to protect this amazing species.

"This captive population, built up over the years by several zoos working together will safeguard Andean bears and Chui and Bahia’s move to Knowsley Safari Park forms an important part of this programme."

There are thought to be between 6,000-10,000 Andean bears left in their natural habitat in South America.

Knowsley Safari Park in Preston will be Chui and Bahia's new home Credit: PA

Georgia Gotts, Team Leader of Mammals at Jersey Zoo, said: "It is always sad when we have to say goodbye to a species, especially a much-loved pair like Chui and Bahia.

"During their time in Jersey, they welcomed their son, Raymi, who was the first cub born at the zoo in over 20 years.

"Raymi has since gone on to have three cubs of his own at Givskud Zoo, which has given this threatened species a much-needed lifeline."

Jersey Zoo is due to hold a series of bear-themed events on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October to celebrate the bears' decade at the zoo.

There are currently no plans for Andean bears to return to the park, and their enclosure will be converted to house two new South American species in future.

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