Luka and his mom Rio are now both on exhibit daily. Luka has adjusted very well to the exhibit and can be seen running around, climbing trees and playing with his mom Rio. Since we are in a warmer climate here in Arizona, we will be leaving the bears with access to their climate controlled night house during the day to provide them with a space they can go to cool down if needed, so they may not always be visible. They do often go back and forth between the nighthouse and the exhibit so as long as you arrive early, there is a good chance you will get to see Luka in action! Along with their nighthouse we’ve also been providing the bears with pools full of cold water and ice to keep cool. Luka has become very fond of the ice cubes and blocks we’ve been providing and you’ll often see him playing and wrestling with the ice!

Luka is a very important addition to the Phoenix Zoo and the managed Andean bear population. Not only is he Rio’s first successful cub, but he is also the first cub that has been successfully born and raised at the Phoenix Zoo. We hope everyone will come out to see Luka soon!

Check out photos and read more about Luka’s first time out on exhibit below:

It only took a few days before Luka really began to explore his new outdoor space and before long, he discovered one of his favorite things in the yard – bamboo! Andean bears are arboreal, meaning they spend a lot of their time in trees. In the wild they will use their long, sharp claws to climb trees in search of food and will also make nests high in the tree tops. Luka started showing off his amazing climbing skills on a small tree near the door to the bear nighthouse, but within a week he had graduated to some of the larger trees nearby.

Rio is always nearby whenever Luka begins his ascent up the bamboo. She can often be heard vocalizing to Luka whenever he climbs too high in the tree. Like any good mom, it is almost as if she is telling him “that’s far enough!” or to “come down from there!” When Luka starts getting a little too high for her liking, Rio takes it upon herself to pull down some of the larger pieces of bamboo, snapping them near the base of the tree so Luka isn’t able to climb too high.

When he isn’t climbing trees, Luka spends time exploring the rest of the yard while still being cautious to not venture too far from the nighthouse and the den. Logs inside the yard can provide fun surfaces to test out his impressive claws, balance on or even rest on while taking a little break.

Luka’s favorite playmate is still his mom who he often wrestles with. Rio has been the perfect mother, always patient and watching over her cub as he explores and plays.

As Rio watches over Luka each day he ventures out into the yard, our dedicated zookeepers have also been there watching closely, monitoring, documenting and generally observing to make sure all is well. It took many weeks to make sure the exhibit space was well prepared for a cub and as each day goes by they have been re-evaluating and making any necessary changes.

Luka is now on exhibit daily and available for viewing. The best time to see him is in the morning hours. Currently the bears are usually being let out onto exhibit between 8 – 9 a.m. We hope you’ll come out to see Luka soon!

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