Salisbury Andean Bears Closer to Being Together - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Andean Bears Closer to Being Together

Posted: Mar 11, 2018 7:36 AM Updated:

SALISBURY, Md.  - Friday at the Salisbury Zoo, zoo staff were working with the zoo's two Andean bears, Pinocchio and Chaska, and getting them closer to the first official meeting.

Since Pinocchio arrived in November from Ecuador, the process of introducing the two bears to one another has been very gradual.  After Pinocchio was out of quarantine, Pinocchio and Chaska have been slowly getting used to each other.  The bears have been allowed to see each other from a distance so they could see and smell one another.  Then over the past few weeks, zoo keepers have allowed them to get closer and closer to one another, eventually leading up to them being in the same enclosure together.

Friday, Pinocchio and Chaska were only separated by a chain link fence.  Something they've been allowed to do a few times so far, but zoo keepers said Friday's interaction was definitely encouraging.  Pinocchio would audibly call out to Chaska, and the two exchanged little licks on each other's nose.  Something zoo keepers said Chaska had not yet done.  Also, female bears tend to be a bit more aggressive than males, and can be known to swat at them with their paws if they get uncomfortable.  But there were no signs of that Friday.  Pinocchio and Chaska were very much interested in one another.

Its encouraging interactions like the one on Friday that have zoo keepers hoping to have the two together in the same enclosure sometime in the next week or two.  They will not be together full time right from the beginning.  Chaska and Pinocchio will get an hour or so to spend together before being separated.  And then their time together will slowly increase.

The ultimate goal is for Chaska and Pinocchio to have a cub.  Pinocchio, coming from Ecuador, and initially being a wild bear as a cub, is bringing all new genetic material to the Andean Bear gene pool here in the states.  So, Pinocchio and Chaska producing a cub would be a very big deal for the Andean Bear population.


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