Zoo invites Islanders to bid farewell to its Andean bears

Andean bears with Christmas presents of peanut butter, walnuts and fruit. Bahia, the female. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (36763849)

THE Andean bears will be leaving Jersey Zoo next month after ten years in the Island, with a host of bear-inspired activities set to take place this weekend to give Islanders an opportunity to say goodbye.

The two bears – Quechua (Chui) and Bahia – will be leaving Jersey in November, as part of a move that has been planned since the start of the year.

The pair, who have been at the Zoo since 2013, will move to their new home at Knowsley Safari, where Durrell said they would have the space to roam and explore in a larger enclosure.

Jersey Zoo described Chui and Bahia as “valuable contributors” to a special breeding programme working to protect their species.

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

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.

“We would love to see as many visitors and members as possible at our ‘Bye Bye Bears’ weekend, so this fabulous duo gets the send-off they deserve.”

To celebrate the bears’ ten-year anniversary, Jersey Zoo will be hosting a weekend of bear-inspired activities on 14 and 15 October.

The weekend’s activities will include bear keeper talks, activity trails and face painting. There will also be a teddy bear’s picnic on both days.

Over the next few months, the Andean bear enclosure will be adapted to accommodate two new South American species, with links to Durrell’s conservation work in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.

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