-- New Andean bear brings Bear Grotto census count to four --

March 7, 2011, Colorado Springs, CO – Bear Grotto’s newest resident, a 21-year-old Andean bear named Rosie, is now on public exhibit at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Rosie transferred from Tulsa Zoo in Oklahoma as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

She’ll be a companion for Osito, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s male Andean bear, however, there are no plans for breeding.

The easiest way to tell Rosie and Osito apart is by comparing their size. Rosie is noticeably smaller, weighing in at about 120 pounds. Osito weighs almost 400 pounds. The pair lives next door to Asiatic black bears Honey and Beezler.

As with all incoming animals, Rosie was initially quarantined off exhibit. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s animal care and behavior managers helped Rosie and Osito get acquainted before they moved into Bear Grotto together. A mesh door called a “howdy” separated the two so they could see, sniff, and get used to each other, and staff used positive reinforcement training (and lots of treats) to encourage the bears to slowly develop a relationship

Andean bears, also called spectacled bears, are native to the Andes Mountains of South America and live at altitudes of up to 13,500 feet. They have distinctive lighter markings around their face, which resemble spectacles and are unique to each individual. Wild populations are decreasing due to habitat loss and poaching.

 Click here for photos and video of Rosie in her exhibit.