WATCH: Smithsonian’s Andean bear cubs open up their eyes

At six weeks old, the Andean bear cubs at the Smithsonian National Zoo in D.C. still love curling up to their mom, Brienne.

The pair were born on Nov. 15, 2022, and are the first Andean bear cubs to be born at the zoo in eight years. The zoo provided an update on the growing cubs  and their mom on Thursday.

The cubs have opened up their eyes as Brienne continues to feel out her mom role. A luxury for new-moms, the zoo said she’s even stepped away from the cubs at times to eat or use the bathroom. Brienne’s appetite has returned — which is a signal that the cubs are nursing well as the mom needs more energy.

Brienne has also ventured out of the den while carrying a cub in her mouth — which is called “scuffing.”

“However, carrying young takes practice,” animal keeper Sara Colandrea said in the release. “We have seen new mothers carry cubs by the mid-section, walk around with a cub’s whole head in her mouth and by the ear! Don’t worry – these cubs are built tough and no one is injured during this kind of learning curve.”

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Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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