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Phoenix Zoo celebrates birth of Andean bear

Rio, a 17-year-old Andean bear and new mother, is shown. (Phoenix Zoo)

PHOENIX -- A new baby is always a good thing, but when it's a rare Andean bear cub, it's even better.

The cub was born in early January to 17-year-old mother Rio. Both seem to be doing well.

Rio and her cub are currently being kept in an out-of-view maternity den to allow them time to bond. It could be several weeks or months before zoo staffers see the cub for the first time.

Rio has given birth to three cubs in the past, but none made it past seven days old. Andean bears have about a 40 percent mortality rate for cubs.

The cub is one of just a few Andean bears born in North American captivity, as only Rio and a bear in Washington, D.C. have given birth.

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