Richard Barnes, Head of Large Carnivores at Port Lympne Reserve describes how his team are preparing for bears:
Port Lympne Large Carnivore Department are really excited as 2016 will see the arrival of a new species, spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus). These fantastic animals, which are also known as Andean or short-faced bears, come from South America and although very adaptable to all kinds of terrain and habitat, they are usually found in cloud forest.
Males can be almost twice the size of females, weighing in at 100-140kg and 70-90kg respectively. Although by definition they are carnivores, they eat a large amount of fruit, spending much of their time foraging.
In Spring 2016, we will hope to welcome a breeding pair to go into our newly built 3.5 acre enclosure. This will be a mixed enclosure and the bears will share their new home with various other South American species, such as Capuchin monkeys, capybara and ring tailed coatis.
The Large Carnivore Team are currently busy building the house interior as well as outdoor fencing and furniture, which will include fire hose hammocks for sleeping, nets and climbing structures.
We are really excited about this new challenging species moving in to their new home with us. It will take plenty of thought from keepers to keep the bears active and occupied. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we hear the sound of little bear cubs running around!