‘Cougar’ bear, 23, gets youthful French mate in Queens Zoo

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QUEENS (PIX11) – A new bear at the Queens Zoo is getting a lot of female attention.

The 2-year-old from France has caught the eye of a 23-year-old Andean bear.

“There’s a great deal more involved in bringing bears to an exhibit than people understand,” said Queens Zoo Director Scott Silver.  “I had to go over there and visit with him, make sure he was a bear we wanted.”

Zoo officials say Spangles, the female bear, is making every last effort to have a cub.  The new bear, named Bouba, is not fully sexually-matured just yet, however.

“The thing that’s so exciting about Bouba is that he’s not genetically related to any North American bears,” Silver said.  “Any contribution he makes to the population helps us to maintain the highest degree of genetic diversity possible.”

Silver added that since Bouba has arrived, the 23-year-old Spangles has been much more energetic and playful, and has been following her younger exhibit mate wherever he goes.