Help name Phoenix Zoo's Andean bear cub


by Jennifer Thomas

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 10 at 11:18 PM

PHOENIX -- Phoenix Zoo officials are asking for help naming their 5-month-old Andean bear cub.

The cub's keepers have selected four names they feel represent his personality.

Arturo: meaning "bear" and "courageous"

Javier: meaning "born in January"

Luka: meaning "light" in reference to the white spectacle markings around the Andean bear's eyes

Pepe: meaning "he will grow"

Voting will run until 8 p.m. on June 30 and the winning name will be announced on July 2.

Vote for your favorite at

Zoo staff said Rio and her cub have been enjoying some time in the outdoor courtyard of the off-exhibit maternity den as keepers are still taking cues from Rio as to when she deems her cub ready to venture past this area.

Staff has been busy baby-proofing the exhibit in anticipation of the cub's debut.

Andean bears are a small, arboreal, largely vegetarian bear from the Andes Mountains in South America. They are the only species of bear native to South America and are also called spectacled bears due to the white markings on their faces, which make them look as if they are wearing glasses.

The Andean bear is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with an estimated 2,000 to 2,400 left in the wild.