NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Nashville Zoo announced the arrival of a new 10-year-old male Andean bear, Pinocchio, from the Salisbury Zoo in Maryland.
Pinocchio arrived in Nashville back in July and underwent a standard quarantine period and has slowly been acclimating to his new habitat.
The Nashville Zoo was selected to receive Pinocchio as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Andean Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP)® and he will eventually be introduced to Nashville Zoo’s female Andean bear, Luka, as a breeding partner.
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The Andean Bear SSP® helps to ensure genetically diverse populations of this species in human care, according to a release.
The Nashville Zoo reported Pinocchio was originally rescued as an abandoned cub from the rural countryside of Ecuador and was ultimately deemed unfit to be released back into the wild. He arrived at Salisbury Zoo in 2017 and successfully fathered three cubs during his time there. The Nashville Zoo’s former male Andean bear, Muniri, did not experience breeding success with Luka and has since moved to the Potawatomi Zoo in Indiana, according to the zoo.
Andean bears are native to the Andes and outlying mountain regions in South America and are the only bear found on this continent. This species is also known as spectacled bears for the lighter fur and coloration around their eyes. Andean bears are considered vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to deforestation. In recent decades, Andean bear populations have been on a rapid decline mainly because of habitat loss and there are an estimated 18,000 bears in the wild.
You can visit the award-winning habitat, Expedition Peru: Trek of the Andean Bear, at the Nashville Zoo to see Pinocchio or Luka.