The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Washington, DC - Meet Mayni and Muniri, The Two Andean Bear Cubs at the National Zoo

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Washington, DC - Meet Mayni and Muniri, The Two Andean Bear Cubs at the National Zoo

On Thursday morning as zoo officials announced the bears’ names, they played in their yard. The zoo said in a Twitter message that they “just heard their first helicopter fly overhead and headed to Mom for comfort.”

After the public voted, the two Andean bear cubs were named, Mayni and Muniri

Mayni is a moniker that means “unique” in the Aymara language. Muniri means “loving” in the Quechua language. The names are meant to reflect the cultural significance of the indigenous peoples of the Andes region, to which the bears are native.

The 19-week-old cubs will go on display to the public, at 10:00 a.m.,  Saturday, Marcg 28th, weather permitting. The brother bears were much celebrated when they were born in November.

Telling the two black balls of fur apart is a bit tough, but zoo officials said the two cubs have distinctive facial markings. Muniri has a slightly longer light brown line in between his eyes; Mayni does not have such a pronounced line.

They definitely have different personalities. Zoo officials have said Mayni is a bit more rambunctious and “seems to need Mom’s attention a bit more than his brother.” His brother, Muniri, is described as playful and “likes to wrestle but is more laid back.”

Zoo officials said that now that the bears have been named, it will help staff members as they teach them certain behaviors like opening their mouth, showing their paws, getting up on a bench and lying down. These learned behaviors are necessary, zoo officials said, to help staff give them vaccinations and care for their health.

The cubs are trained one-on-one, and zoo keepers will call the cubs by their respective names into different enclosures, officials said. Every time a bear does one of its new, learned behaviors, the keepers will use positive reinforcement and call them by name. And they’ll get a treat — either grapes or peanuts, which are their favorites.


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