NJ zoo welcomes Billie Jean the bear
Somehow when I used to hear Michael Jackson sing the line “She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene” I was picturing something a little more, eh, human?
Turns out Billie Jean is the name of a bear. Specifically a 17-year-old Andean bear. And she was recently welcomed to a New Jersey zoo.
Sometimes called a spectacled bear, the Andean bear is native to South America in the Andes mountains. It’s considered a threatened species due to poaching and loss of habitat.
Their average lifespan in captivity is 20 years but the good news for Billie Jean is some reach their late 20s and even 30 years old. Billie Jean was at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. but after giving birth to several cubs she has now been moved to Cape May County Park and Zoo in Middle Township, New Jersey.
What a cutie! A social media post by the Cape May Zoo reads, “You’d think she’s just a girl … but Billie Jean is 17 years old! Make sure to stop by and welcome her to the zoo!”
The Cape May County Park and Zoo has been ranked among the best zoos in the nation, so she’s in excellent hands. If you’d like to pay her a visit and need some info you’ll find the zoo’s website here.
A few fun facts about Andean bears.
The children’s character Paddington Bear is an Andean bear.
Males can weigh up to 440 pounds and females up to 180 pounds.
They’re near-sighted with only moderate hearing but their sense of smell is extraordinary.
Distinctive markings on its chest, throat and head are similar to fingerprints for identifying bears and this is why they’re sometimes known as spectacled bears.
They’re herbivores, and while only 5% of their diet is meat, they’ve been known to take down animals as large as llamas, cattle, deer and horses.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite afternoon radio show any day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.