WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The National Zoo welcomed two new members into the family with the birth of two Andean bear cubs early Thursday morning.

Zoo officials say 6-year-old Billie Jean delivered the first cub around 12:01 a.m. and the second at 2:02 a.m.

Although the toughest part is done, officials say this species has a mortality rate, stating that within the first year of life 41 percent of males and 44 percent of females will die.

The two cubs are the only surviving Andean bear cubs in a North American Zoo since Billie Jean’s first cubs, Bernado and Chaska, were born in 2010.

Animal care staff will monitor them closely on the Andean bear cam, but will leave Billie Jean to bond with and care for her cubs without interference. They say it will be at least two months before zookeepers and veterinarians can determine their sex.

The cubs’ father Nikki, had to be euthanized in August.

The Andean bear cam is also being made available to the public. Interest animal lovers can view Billie Jean and her cuddly young cubs on the live camera here.

The Zoo is also asking the public to help contribute to a Flickr album its compiling of bear cam screenshots.


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