Spectacled bear

The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the Andean bear, is the only bear species native to South America. Here’s a description of its distribution:

  1. Andean Region: Spectacled bears are primarily found in the Andean region of South America, including countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela. They inhabit a variety of habitats within the Andes Mountains, including cloud forests, montane forests, and páramo grasslands.
  2. Northern Andes: In Colombia and Venezuela, spectacled bears are found in the northern Andes mountain range, including the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Cordillera Oriental. They inhabit dense forests and mountainous terrain at elevations ranging from sea level to over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet).
  3. Central Andes: Spectacled bears are also found in the central Andes of Ecuador and Peru, including regions such as the Cordillera Blanca, Cordillera Negra, and Cordillera Oriental. They inhabit cloud forests and montane forests at mid to high elevations, where they feed on a variety of plant species and occasionally prey on small mammals.
  4. Southern Andes: In Bolivia and Peru, spectacled bears are found in the southern Andes mountain range, including regions such as the Cordillera Real and the Cordillera Vilcanota. They inhabit similar habitats to those found in the central Andes, including cloud forests and montane forests.

Spectacled bears are named for the distinctive whitish or yellowish markings around their eyes, which resemble eyeglasses or spectacles. They have a shaggy black coat with varying degrees of white or yellowish fur on their face, chest, and throat.

These bears are primarily herbivorous, feeding on a diet of fruits, leaves, and bromeliads, but they may also consume insects, small mammals, and carrion opportunistically. They are known for their climbing ability and are often found in trees foraging for food or resting in branches.

Despite being the only bear species native to South America, spectacled bears are classified as vulnerable due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and human-wildlife conflict. Conservation efforts, including habitat protection, research, and education, are essential for ensuring the survival of this iconic Andean species.

Spectacled bear in Zoos

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