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Kissing bears - Love at first sight for spectacled bears at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm near Bristol

The bears get along so well that there's hope that cubs will be along before too long. Credit: Alistair Heap/PA Wire

Could it be love at first sight?

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm has taken in two new Andean bears - more popularly known as spectacled bears. Keepers say that they bonded instantly when they first met and are very happy in each other's company. They say it's a promising sign of their breeding potential.

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Madidi - who's female - and Rasu - who's male - are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. There are fewer than 10,000 spectacled bears left in their native South America and the species is classed as vulnerable on an international conservation list.

Madidi and Rasu. Credit: Alistair Heap/PA Wire

Spectacled bears are so-called because of the white circles of fur that appear around their eyes. They're very distinctive on Madidi. She's two years old and came from Chester Zoo. Rasu is also two and arrived from Zurich Zoo.

  • Interesting fact: The children's book character Paddington Bear came from Peru so would have been a spectacled bear too!

Staff worked closely with Chester Zoo to create the ideal environment for Madidi and Rasu to share and hopefully welcome their first bear cubs. It is one of the biggest spectacled bear enclosures in the UK.

We are delighted to receive such genetically important bears and be part of the global effort to protect the future of the species. Madidi is settling in well and the two bears have hit it off straight away, so we are looking forward to what may happen with their breeding potential.

The process is all very natural, and it is promising that they are getting along so well this early on in the introduction process. We’re looking forward to the prospect of welcoming our own tiny spectacled bear cubs in the near future.

– Chris Wilkinson, curator of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Spectacled bears Rasu and Madidi eyeing each other up. Credit: Alistair Heap/PA Wire

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