Meet Bernard, the new rare bear at the zoo (With Photos)

By Megan Carpenter

Meet Bernard, the new rare bear at the zoo (With Photos)

November 15, 2013 Updated Nov 15, 2013 at 7:45 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton Zoo's new furry arrival is smarter and sweeter than your average bear, according to employees at the Ross Park Zoo.

Bernard is a 22-year-old Andean bear. He has been at the zoo for about one month, getting used to his new home.

Although it's a far cry from his natural habitat in the Andes Mountains, he came to Binghamton from the Buffalo Zoo. He was born and raised there in captivity.

Zookeepers said Andean bears are known for their sweetness. They're hoping he'll be a great companion for the zoo's other Andean bear, 24-year-old Chica.

The two are part of the only bear species that's native to South America. He and Chica will rotate in the exhibit until they get used to each other's company.

Caretakers said they think Chica and the public will love Bernard just as much as they do.

"He is pretty sweet," Maria Desisto said. "He does like to be handfed his grapes in the morning."

"He's a big goof," said Steven Contento, the zoo's director. "We love him already."

The zoo is officially letting people see Bernard Saturday morning at 11.

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