The first set of Andean bear twins ever born in the UK have emerged from their den at Chester Zoo for the first time.
The cubs were born in January and have spent the first six months of their life cuddled up with their eight-year-old mum, Lima, but have now finally ventured out to explore.
The rare twin cubs have been spotted enjoying ‘friendly rough and tumble’, including attempts at climbing trees.
Chester Zoo – which reopened around three months ago after the country backed a huge petition – has named the cubs Pacha (female) and Mateo (male) and hailed the birth of the cubs ‘very, very special’.
Lucy Edwards, Chester Zoo’s assistant team manager of carnivores, said: “Andean bears are incredibly shy animals and, for this reason, are still something of mystery to conservationists.
“So to see mum Lima allowing her two little cubs to explore so freely and enjoy a bit of friendly rough and tumble is just wonderful – it’s very, very special.
“The twin cubs are so full of energy and their playful personalities are really starting to show – it looks like they will be keeping mum very busy.
“Just a few weeks ago, while the zoo was closed, a small team of keepers and vets managed to give the cubs a quick check over and we’re very happy to report that both were given a clean bill of health.
“It’s great that we can now safely welcome back visitors and they can learn more about Andean bears and see the twins for themselves – an incredibly rare sight, even for conservationists studying them day in, day out in the field.”
The species – made popular by the children’s character Paddington Bear – is estimated to have fewer than 10,000 remaining in the wild.
Andean Bears, like Paddington, are found in South America, in Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.
They are currently listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Lucy added: “Mum Lima is doing an incredible job caring for her new cubs and they seem to be really thriving under her watchful eye.
“Her new arrivals are vital additions to the endangered species breeding programme, which is working to preserve the species, help conservationists to learn more about them and, ultimately, protect the long-term future of these beautiful bears.
“Alongside this important work in the zoo, our conservationists have also been working in Bolivia, alongside our partners the local NGO PROMETA and the University of Oxford, to understand how Andean bears live in the wild.
“Together, we are striving to find new ways to prevent conflict between bears and humans – a key threat to this species. The project is the first of its kind in the region and aims to have bears and humans living side by side in harmony.”
In South America, Andean bears share their habitat with the poorest and most vulnerable communities on the continent, an area which is being severely challenged by climate change.
The bears sadly pose a threat to crops and livestock which is dwindling their natural habitat. Experts suggest that more than 30% of forests in South America have disappeared in the last 20 years due to mass-scale deforestation and climate change.
The cubs were born on January 10, 2020 with mum Lima born on January 12, 2012 and dad Bernie born on January 14, 2010
Text message scammer found and arrested by police in Manchester city centre hotel
44,000 mobile phone contacts were found on the man’s devices
A man suspected of sending over 26,000 fraudulent text messages was arrested by police officers yesterday afternoon.
The twenty-one year old, who has not yet been named, was found by officers in a hotel down Charles Street in the city centre, at around 3pm. Equipment used as part of a text message scam to defraud people – known as phishing – was also found in his hotel room.
The man was subsequently arrested at the scene.
Detectives from the City of Manchester Central division and Cybercrime Team seized the electronic equipment and his car as a part of their enquiries.
It is estimated that yesterday alone, around 26,000 text messages had already been sent from the devices, all claiming to be from Hermes asking for bank details after a missed delivery.
A total of 44,000 mobile phone contacts are also believed to have been stored on the devices.
Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of GMP’s City of Manchester Central division, said: “What we have uncovered here are potentially the components of a highly sophisticated and authentic scam that I know many people not just in Greater Manchester but across the country have been potential victims of in recent weeks and months.
“We have a man in custody and various items of potential evidence that we have seized and this is due to the initiative of the hotel staff, who acted on their suspicions, and the subsequent response from our neighbourhood officers in the city centre.
“These are the very early stages of what promises to be a complex and dynamic investigation, and I would like to take the opportunity to remind the public to ensure they keep remaining alert to the daily risks that unscrupulous cyber criminals pose to them by sending these fraudulent messages.”
GMP advise that anyone believing to be affected by this scam, any other phishing attempts or for more information, they can get in touch here.
Teen stops young girl being taken by stranger claiming to be ‘dad’s friend’ as she walked home from school
Emma’s quick thinking saved the school girl from being taken by a stranger
A teenage girl has been praised for her quick thinking as she prevented a child being taken from a stranger.
Fifteen year old Emma Carlile was walking home from school through Wallasey Village in Wirral, Merseyside, when she noticed a man approaching a school girl and telling her that he was her ‘dad’s mate.’
Emma noticed that the girl, who is believed to be around eleven years old, looked alarmed, so decided to intervene.
Emma’s dad, Rik, told the Liverpool Echo: “She said she was walking along and she saw a ‘creepy looking man’ approach a young girl and put his arm around her, which she thought looked odd.
“She noticed when the man approached her she looked a bit startled and then she heard the man say, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, don’t you remember me? I’ve been to your house before’.”
Rik continued: “The girl was saying ‘no, I don’t remember’ but he kept going on saying, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, I’ve met you before.’ At one point, the girl tried to get her phone out and the man said, ‘no you don’t need to ring anyone, you know who I am, I’m your dad’s mate.’”
Emma followed them around a corner and, as they approached a crossing, shouted the first name that came into her head.
She said: “Hey Bethany! Dad will be home tonight from police training.”
The girl apparently looked at her and looked startled but relieved at the same time. As soon as Emma spoke, the man quickly walked away down towards Wallasey Village train station.
Rik said that Emma walked with the girl until she was home safely and informed her parents about what had just happened.
Rik shared his daughter’s encounter on Facebook to warn people with children walking home alone from school. He wrote: “WARNING! My 15 year old daughter was walking home from Weatherhead today through Wallasey village and witnessed an older man walk up to a girl with a Harry Potter backpack and a green coat.
“The man put his arm around her claiming he was her “dads friend,” My daughter recognised that the girl looked alarmed and didn’t know the man and followed them from by the co-op to the crossing by the petrol station.
“Please make your children aware if they walk home alone.”
Emma described the man as being around 6ft tall with short grey hair and stubble. He was of large build wearing a green t-shirt and black trousers.
Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th
We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…
Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.
The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.
According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.
As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.
The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.
Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim.
Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.
This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th.
Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.
“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.
“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”