The Bear Den
Spectacled bear numbers are declining rapidly.
They are the biggest carnivore in South America and culturally important, but they are also vulnerable to extinction. Bears are forced to compete for space with dense human populations throughout the Andes. They are also killed by landowners in retaliation following attacks on corn crops or cattle, and in some places, bears are poached for traditional medicinal uses.
Hope remains. Since 2006, Fundación Cordillera Tropical has been working with private landowners and indigenous cooperatives to conserve important bear territory in the southern Ecuadorian Andes.
About the Spectacled Bear
There are eight species of bears in the world and the spectacled, or Andean bear, is the only bear species found in South America. They live in a variety of habitats including the dry coastal forests of Perú to the soaring montane forests and páramos found throughout the Andes mountain range, occupying an altitudinal gradient ranging from 250 to 4,500 meters above sea level. In comparison with other bear species, the spectacled bear is medium-sized, ranging in length from 3.5 to 7 feet and weighing between 130 to 385 lbs with females approximately 2/3 the size of males. Spectacled bears are diurnal, that is active during the day, and omnivorous spending large parts of the day foraging for wild fruits, terrestrial bromeliads, insects, and hunting the occasional small mammal.
There is little known about bear behavior in the wild. Recently scientists have found that spectacled bears can stand on their two hind legs and are able to walk short distances. They are also capable climbers. Spectacled bears frequently build tree nests, breaking or bending branches to form a stable platform for feeding and resting.
Here are some bear related activities for you to do. Click the links below and have fun!
- Print out and color your own bear with this coloring page.
- Learn to make a bear with these origami instructions.
- Put the bear back together with this puzzle.
- Decorate this mask and surprise your friends.
Over the last 3 years, camera traps have photographed at least 25 individuals of the spectacled bear in South Sangay National Park, Ecuador. Download your own photo of the spectacled bear below.
Beginning in July 2011, Fundación Cordillera Tropical developed radio spots to project our conservation message to rural and urban audiences.
|01.||Conserve the Andean bear:|
|02.||Community park guards protect Sangay National Park:|
To see more videos of the Spectacled Bear, go to our YouTube page.