Chester Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a third spectacled bear, transferred from a zoo in France as part of breeding plans to boost numbers of the rare species.

Staff hope Lima (pictured) will produce cubs

Two-year-old Lima was only moved after experts carefully matched her with Chester’s male bear Bernardo.

Staff at the zoo hope the pair will eventually produce cubs, adding new blood to the insurance population living in zoos around the world.

The bears, which are native to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, are threatened by habitat loss. The species is also hunted for its meat, skin, bones, fat and claws.

It is believed only 20,000 now remain in the wild. Little is known about the bears in the wild as the species are shy and tend to avoid humans, making them hard to find for researchers to study.

A Chester Zoo spokesman said: “Lima’s personality should make her a great match for our impressive male Bernardo and we’re hopeful that, in time, the pair will go on to have cubs.”

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