Spectacled bear

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Spectacled bear_table_infobox_0

Spectacled bear

Temporal range: 0.1–0 Ma PreꞒ O S D C P T J K Pg N

Late Pleistocene – RecentSpectacled bear_header_cell_0_0_0

Conservation statusSpectacled bear_header_cell_0_1_0
Scientific classification TremarctosSpectacled bear_header_cell_0_2_0
Kingdom:Spectacled bear_cell_0_3_0 AnimaliaSpectacled bear_cell_0_3_1
Phylum:Spectacled bear_cell_0_4_0 ChordataSpectacled bear_cell_0_4_1
Class:Spectacled bear_cell_0_5_0 MammaliaSpectacled bear_cell_0_5_1
Order:Spectacled bear_cell_0_6_0 CarnivoraSpectacled bear_cell_0_6_1
Family:Spectacled bear_cell_0_7_0 UrsidaeSpectacled bear_cell_0_7_1
Genus:Spectacled bear_cell_0_8_0 TremarctosSpectacled bear_cell_0_8_1
Species:Spectacled bear_cell_0_9_0 T. ornatusSpectacled bear_cell_0_9_1
Binomial nameSpectacled bear_header_cell_0_10_0
SynonymsSpectacled bear_header_cell_0_11_0

The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the Andean bear, Andean short-faced bear, or mountain bear and locally as jukumari (Aymara and Quechua), ukumari (Quechua) or ukuku, is the last remaining short-faced bear (subfamily Tremarctinae). Spectacled bear_sentence_0

Its closest relatives are the extinct Florida spectacled bear, and the giant short-faced bears of the Middle to Late Pleistocene age (Arctodus and Arctotherium). Spectacled bear_sentence_1

Spectacled bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the only surviving member of the subfamily Tremarctinae. Spectacled bear_sentence_2

The species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN because of habitat loss. Spectacled bear_sentence_3

Description Spectacled bear_section_0

The spectacled bear is the only bear native to South America and is the largest land carnivore on that part of the continent, although as little as 5% of its diet is composed of meat. Spectacled bear_sentence_4

South America's largest obligate carnivorous mammal is the jaguar (Panthera onca). Spectacled bear_sentence_5

Among South America's extant, native land animals, only the Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii), South American tapir (T. terrestris) and mountain tapir (T. pinchaque) are heavier than this species. Spectacled bear_sentence_6

The spectacled bear is a mid-sized species of bear. Spectacled bear_sentence_7

Overall, its fur is blackish in colour, though bears may vary from jet black to dark brown and to even a reddish hue. Spectacled bear_sentence_8

The species typically has distinctive beige or ginger-coloured markings across its face and upper chest, though not all spectacled bears have "spectacle" markings. Spectacled bear_sentence_9

The pattern and extent of pale markings are slightly different on each individual bear, and bears can be readily distinguished by this. Spectacled bear_sentence_10

Males are a third larger than females in dimensions and sometimes twice their weight. Spectacled bear_sentence_11

Males can weigh from 100 to 200 kg (220 to 440 lb), and females can weigh from 35 to 82 kg (77 to 181 lb). Spectacled bear_sentence_12

Head-and-body length can range from 120 to 200 cm (47 to 78.5 in), though mature males do not measure less than 150 cm (59 in). Spectacled bear_sentence_13

On average males weigh about 115 kg (254 lb) and females average about 65 kg (143 lb), thus it rivals the polar bear for the most sexually dimorphic modern bear. Spectacled bear_sentence_14

A male in captivity that was considered obese weighed 222.5 kg (491 lb). Spectacled bear_sentence_15

The tail is a mere 7 cm (2.8 in) in length, and the shoulder height is from 60 to 90 cm (23.5 to 35.5 in). Spectacled bear_sentence_16

Compared to other living bears, this species has a more rounded face with a relatively short and broad snout. Spectacled bear_sentence_17

In some extinct species of the Tremarctinae subfamily, this facial structure has been thought to be an adaptation to a largely carnivorous diet, despite the modern spectacled bears' herbivorous dietary preferences. Spectacled bear_sentence_18

The spectacled bear's sense of smell is extremely sensitive. Spectacled bear_sentence_19

They can perceive from the ground when a tree is loaded with ripe fruit. Spectacled bear_sentence_20

On the other hand, their hearing is moderate and their vision is short. Spectacled bear_sentence_21

Distribution and habitat Spectacled bear_section_1

Despite some rare spilling-over into eastern Panama, spectacled bears are mostly restricted to certain areas of northern and western South America. Spectacled bear_sentence_22

They can range in western Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia, and northwestern Argentina. Spectacled bear_sentence_23

Its elongated geographical distribution is only 200-650km wide but with a length of more than 4600km. Spectacled bear_sentence_24

The species is found almost entirely in the Andes Mountains. Spectacled bear_sentence_25

Before spectacled bear populations became fragmented during the last 500 years, the species had a reputation for being adaptable, as it is found in a wide variety of habitats and altitudes throughout its range, including cloud forests, high-altitude grasslands, dry forests and scrub deserts. Spectacled bear_sentence_26

A single spectacled bear population on the border of Peru and Ecuador inhabited as great a range of habitat types as the world's brown bears (Ursus arctos) now occupy. Spectacled bear_sentence_27

The best habitats for spectacled bears are humid to very humid montane forests. Spectacled bear_sentence_28

These cloud forests typically occupy a 500 to 1,000 m (1,600 to 3,300 ft) elevational band between 1,000 and 2,700 m (3,300 and 8,900 ft) depending on latitude. Spectacled bear_sentence_29

Generally, the wetter these forests are the more food species there are that can support bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_30

Occasionally, they may reach altitudes as low as 250 m (820 ft), but are not typically found below 1,900 m (6,200 ft) in the foothills. Spectacled bear_sentence_31

They can even range up to the mountain snow line at over 5,000 m (16,000 ft) in elevation. Spectacled bear_sentence_32

Therefore, it is well known that bears use all these types of habitats in regional movements; however, the seasonal patterns of these movements are still unknown. Spectacled bear_sentence_33

Nowadays, the distribution area of the Tremarctos ornatus is influenced by the human presence, mainly due to habitat destruction and degradation, hunting and fragmentation of populations. Spectacled bear_sentence_34

This fragmentation is mainly found in Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador and it represents several problems to this population because, first, their persistence is compromised if they are small, isolated populations, even without facing habitat lost or hunting. Spectacled bear_sentence_35

Second, the transformation of the landscape represents loss of availability of the type of habitats spectacled bears need. Spectacled bear_sentence_36

Third, fragmentation exposes bears to hunting and killing due to its accessibility. Spectacled bear_sentence_37

Naming and etymology Spectacled bear_section_2

Tremarctos ornatus is commonly referred to in English as the "spectacled bear", a reference to the light colouring on its chest, neck and face, which may resemble eyeglasses in some individuals, or the "Andean bear" for its distribution along the Andes. Spectacled bear_sentence_38

The root trem- comes from a Greek word meaning "hole;" arctos is the Greek word for "bear." Spectacled bear_sentence_39

Tremarctos is a reference to an unusual hole on the animal's humerus. Spectacled bear_sentence_40

Ornatus, Latin for "decorated", is a reference to the markings that give the bear its common English name. Spectacled bear_sentence_41

Behaviour and diet Spectacled bear_section_3

Spectacled bears are one of four extant bear species that are habitually arboreal, alongside the American black bear (Ursus americanus) and Asian black bear (U. thibetanus), and the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Spectacled bear_sentence_42

In Andean cloud forests, spectacled bears may be active both during the day and night, but in Peruvian desert are reported to bed down under vegetative cover during the day. Spectacled bear_sentence_43

Their continued survival alongside humans has depended mostly on their ability to climb even the tallest trees of the Andes. Spectacled bear_sentence_44

They usually retreat from the presence of humans, often by climbing trees. Spectacled bear_sentence_45

Once up a tree, they may often build a platform, perhaps to aid in concealment, as well as to rest and store food on. Spectacled bear_sentence_46

Although spectacled bears are solitary and tend to isolate themselves from one another to avoid competition, they are not territorial. Spectacled bear_sentence_47

They have even been recorded to feed in small groups at abundant food sources. Spectacled bear_sentence_48

Males are reported to have an average home range of 23 km (8.9 sq mi) during the wet season and 27 km (10 sq mi) during the dry season. Spectacled bear_sentence_49

Females are reported to have an average home range of 10 km (3.9 sq mi) in the wet season and 7 km (2.7 sq mi) in the dry season. Spectacled bear_sentence_50

When encountered by humans or other spectacled bears, they will react in a docile but cautious manner, unless the intruder is seen as a threat or a mother's cubs are endangered. Spectacled bear_sentence_51

Like other bears, mothers are protective of their young and have attacked poachers. Spectacled bear_sentence_52

There is only a single reported human death due to a spectacled bear, which occurred while it was being hunted and was already shot. Spectacled bear_sentence_53

The only predators of cubs include cougars (Puma concolor) and possibly male spectacled bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_54

The bears "appear to avoid" jaguars, but the jaguar has considerably different habitat preferences, does not overlap with the spectacled bear in altitude on any specific mountain slope, and only overlaps slightly (900m) in altitude if the entire Cordillera Oriental is considered based upon unpublished data. Spectacled bear_sentence_55

Generally, the only threat against adult bears is humans. Spectacled bear_sentence_56

The longest-lived captive bear, at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, attained a lifespan of 36 years and 8 months. Spectacled bear_sentence_57

Lifespan in the wild has not been studied, but bears are believed to commonly live to 20 years or more unless they run afoul of humans. Spectacled bear_sentence_58

Spectacled bears are more herbivorous than most other bears; normally about 5 to 7% of their diets is meat. Spectacled bear_sentence_59

The most common foods for these bears include cactus, bromeliads (especially Puya ssp. Spectacled bear_sentence_60 , Tillandsia ssp. Spectacled bear_sentence_61

and Guzmania ssp.) Spectacled bear_sentence_62

palm nuts, bamboo hearts, frailejon (Espeletia spp.), orchid bulbs, fallen fruit on the forest floor, and unopened palm leaves. Spectacled bear_sentence_63

They will also peel back tree bark to eat the nutritious second layer. Spectacled bear_sentence_64

Much of this vegetation is very tough to open or digest for most animals, and the bear is one of the few species in its range to exploit these food sources. Spectacled bear_sentence_65

The spectacled bear has the largest zygomatic mandibular muscles relative to its body size and the shortest muzzle of any living bear, slightly surpassing the relative size of the giant panda's (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) morphology here. Spectacled bear_sentence_66

Not coincidentally, both species are known for extensively consuming tough, fibrous plants. Spectacled bear_sentence_67

Unlike the ursid bears whose fourth premolar has a more well-developed protoconid, an adaptation for shearing flesh, the fourth premolar of spectacled bears has blunt lophs with three pulp cavities instead of two, and can have three roots instead of the two that characterize ursid bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_68

The musculature and tooth characteristics are designed to support the stresses of grinding and crushing vegetation. Spectacled bear_sentence_69

Besides the giant panda, the spectacled bear is perhaps the most herbivorous living bear species. Spectacled bear_sentence_70

These bears also eat cultivated plants, such as sugarcane (Saccharum ssp. Spectacled bear_sentence_71

), honey (made by Apis ssp. Spectacled bear_sentence_72

), and maize (Zea mays), and have been known to travel above the tree line for berries and more ground-based bromeliads. Spectacled bear_sentence_73

When food is abundant, such as large corn fields, up to nine individual bears have fed close by each other in a single vicinity. Spectacled bear_sentence_74

Animal prey is usually quite small, but these bears can prey on adult deer, llama (Lama glama) and domestic cattle (Bos primigenius taurus) and horses (Equus ferus caballus). Spectacled bear_sentence_75

A spectacled bear was captured on a remote video-monitor predaceously attacking and killing an adult mountain tapir perhaps nearly twice its own body mass, although adult horse and cattle killed by spectacled bears have been even heavier. Spectacled bear_sentence_76

Animal prey has included rabbits, mice, other rodents, birds at the nest (especially ground-nesting birds like tinamous or lapwings (Vanellus ssp. Spectacled bear_sentence_77

), arthropods, and carrion. Spectacled bear_sentence_78

They are occasionally accused of killing livestock, especially cattle, and raiding corn fields. Spectacled bear_sentence_79

Allegedly, some bears become habituated to eating cattle, but the bears are actually more likely to eat cattle as carrion and some farmers may accidentally assume the spectacled bear killed them. Spectacled bear_sentence_80

Due to fear of loss of stock, bears may be killed on sight. Spectacled bear_sentence_81

Reproduction Spectacled bear_section_4

Most of the information available about the reproduction of this specie has been through observation of captive animals. Spectacled bear_sentence_82

In captivity, mating is concentrated in between February and September, according to the latitude, and, in the wild, it has been seen how mating may occur at almost any time of the year, but activity normally peaks in April and June, at the beginning of the wet season and corresponding with the peak of fruit-ripening. Spectacled bear_sentence_83

The mating pair are together for one to two weeks, during which they will copulate multiple times for 12-45 minutes at a time. Spectacled bear_sentence_84

The courtship is based on games and non-aggressive fights while intercourse can be accompanied by loud sounds from both animals. Spectacled bear_sentence_85

In the wild, births usually occur in the dry season, between December and February but in captivity it occurs all year within the species’ distribution. Spectacled bear_sentence_86

The gestation period is 5.5 to 8.5 months. Spectacled bear_sentence_87

From one to three cubs may be born, with four being rare and two being the average. Spectacled bear_sentence_88

The cubs are born with their eyes closed and weigh about 300 to 330 g (11 to 12 oz) each. Spectacled bear_sentence_89

Although this species does not give birth during the hibernation cycle as do northern bear species, births usually occur in a small den and the female waits until the cubs can see and walk before she leaves with them, this occurs in between 3 to 4 months after birth. Spectacled bear_sentence_90

Females grow slower than males. Spectacled bear_sentence_91

The size of the litter has been positively correlated with both the weight of the female and the abundance and variety of food sources, particularly the degree to which fruiting is temporally predictable. Spectacled bear_sentence_92

The cubs often stay with the female for one year before striking out on their own. Spectacled bear_sentence_93

This is related to the time mothers breastfeed (1 year), but keep providing maternal care for an additional year. Spectacled bear_sentence_94

Breeding maturity is estimated to be reached at between four and seven years of age for both sexes, based solely on captive bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_95

Females usually give birth for the first time when they are 5 years old and their fecundity is shorter than that of the males, who keep fertility almost all their life. Spectacled bear_sentence_96

Something that is in favor of the subsistence of the bear population is their longevity, since they are able to raise at least 2 cups to adulthood, helping to population replacement. Spectacled bear_sentence_97

Conservation Spectacled bear_section_5

Threats Spectacled bear_section_6

The Andean bear is threatened due to poaching and habitat loss. Spectacled bear_sentence_98

Poaching might have several reasons: trophy hunting, pet trade, religious or magical beliefs, natural products trade and conflicts with humans. Spectacled bear_sentence_99

Trophy hunting of Andean bear was apparently popular during the 19th century in some rural areas of Latin-America. Spectacled bear_sentence_100

In the costumbrist novel "María" by Colombian writer Jorge Isaacs, it was portrayed as an activity for privileged young men in Colombia. Spectacled bear_sentence_101

Tales regarding pet bears are also known from documents about the Ecuadorian aristocracy of that time. Spectacled bear_sentence_102

These threats might have diminished in recent years, but there are still isolated reports of captive bears confiscated in rural areas, which usually are unable to adapt again to their natural habitat and must be kept in zoological facilities. Spectacled bear_sentence_103

Religious or magical beliefs might be motivations for killing Andean bears, especially in places where bears are related to myths of disappearing women or kids, or where bear parts are related to traditional medicine or superstitions. Spectacled bear_sentence_104

In this context, the trade of bear parts might have commercial value. Spectacled bear_sentence_105

Their gall bladders appear to be valued in traditional Chinese medicine and can fetch a high price on the international market. Spectacled bear_sentence_106

Conflicts with humans, however, appear to be the most common cause of poaching in large portions of its distribution. Spectacled bear_sentence_107

Andean Bears are often suspected of attacking cattle and raiding crops, and are killed for retaliation or in order to avoid further damages. Spectacled bear_sentence_108

It has been argued that attacks to cattle attributed to Andean bear are partly due to other predators. Spectacled bear_sentence_109

Raiding of crops can be frequent in areas with diminishing natural resources and extensive crops in former bear habitat, or when problematic individuals get used to human environments. Spectacled bear_sentence_110

The intensity of poaching can create ecological traps for Andean bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_111

That is, if bears are attracted to areas of high habitat quality that are also high in poaching risk. Spectacled bear_sentence_112

Perhaps the most epidemic problem for the species is extensive logging and farming, which has led to habitat loss for the largely tree-dependent bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_113

As little as 5% of the original habitat in Andean cloud forest remains. Spectacled bear_sentence_114

Shortage of natural food sources might push bears to feed on crops or livestock, increasing the conflict that usually results in poaching of individual. Spectacled bear_sentence_115

Impacts of climate changes on bear habitat and food sources are not fully understood, but might have potential negative impact in the near future. Spectacled bear_sentence_116

As stated, one of the major limitations to the viability of bear populations is human-caused mortality, mainly poaching and habitat loss; but the other big limitation is population size. Spectacled bear_sentence_117

Therefore, the most effective actions for their viability will be to increase population size and decrease poaching. Spectacled bear_sentence_118

For these actions to be effective, it is needed to understand where they are carried out, identifying areas where habitat protection and landscape management are realistically capable of maintaining large bear populations. Spectacled bear_sentence_119

Perception of the Andean bear Spectacled bear_section_7

There are two views of the Andean Bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_120

One is ex-situ, people that live far from where the bears inhabit; for them, the spectacled bears are usually charismatic symbols of the wilderness, animals that are not aggressive and that are mainly vegetarians. Spectacled bear_sentence_121

The other view is in-situ, people that live in areas where the bears inhabit; for them, bears are cattle predators, pests that should be killed as a preventative measure and where any cattle loss is immediately attributed to them, becoming persecuted and hunted. Spectacled bear_sentence_122

Therefore, understanding the real conflict extent and the intensity of people’s perception of the conflict is important to assess correctly the issue. Spectacled bear_sentence_123

Also, environmental education campaigns are a must to change these public perceptions of the Andean bear as predator. Spectacled bear_sentence_124

Conservation actions and plans Spectacled bear_section_8

The IUCN has recommended the following courses for spectacled bear conservation: expansion and implementation of conservation land to prevent further development, greater species level research and monitoring of trends and threats, more concerted management of current conservation areas, stewardship programs for bears which engage local residents and the education of the public regarding spectacled bears, especially the benefits of conserving the species due to its effect on natural resources. Spectacled bear_sentence_125

National governments, NGOs and rural communities have made different commitments to conservation of this species along its distribution. Spectacled bear_sentence_126

Conservation actions in Venezuela date back to the early 1990s, and have been based mostly on environmental education at several levels and the establishment of protected areas. Spectacled bear_sentence_127

The effort of several organisations has led to a widespread recognition of the Andean bear in Venezuelan society, raising it as an emblematic species of conservation efforts in the country, and to the establishment of a 10-year action plan. Spectacled bear_sentence_128

Evidence regarding the objective effectiveness of these programs (like reducing poaching risk, maintaining population viability, and reducing extinction risk) is subject to debate and needs to be further evaluated. Spectacled bear_sentence_129

Legislation against bear hunting exists, but is rarely enforced. Spectacled bear_sentence_130

This leads to persistence of the poaching problem, even inside protected areas. Spectacled bear_sentence_131

In 2006 the Spectacled Bear Conservation Society was established in Peru to study and protect the spectacled bear. Spectacled bear_sentence_132

Spectacled bear and protected areas Spectacled bear_section_9

To evaluate the protected status of the Andean bears, back in 1998 researchers evaluated the percentage of their habitats included in national and protected areas. Spectacled bear_sentence_133

This evaluation showed that only 18.5% of the bear range was located in 58 protected areas, highlighting that many of them were small, especially those in the northern Andes. Spectacled bear_sentence_134

The largest park had an area of 2050 km while the median size of 43 parks from Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador was 1250 km, which may result too small to maintain a sustainable bear population. Spectacled bear_sentence_135

Therefore, these researchers stated the importance of the creation of habitat blocks outside protected areas since they might provide opportunities for the protection of these animals. Spectacled bear_sentence_136

Other suggested conservation strategies Spectacled bear_section_10

Researchers suggest the following spectacled bear conservation strategies: Spectacled bear_sentence_137

Spectacled bear_unordered_list_0

  • Protect high-quality habitats while maintaining connectivity between their different elevational zones. In reality, it is not possible to manage all the undisturbed habitat the bears need in the long term, so it is important to identify those high-quality habitats that maximize biodiversity gain.Spectacled bear_item_0_0
  • Alleviate human-bear conflicts through conflict management, thinking about the spatial configuration of this animal habitat.Spectacled bear_item_0_1
  • Mitigate human impacts on protected areas through the design of comprehensive management strategies.Spectacled bear_item_0_2
  • Sustain landscape diversity in the bear conservation study areas to ensure them food and seasonal access to resources in all the habitats they frequent.Spectacled bear_item_0_3
  • Maintain bear population connectivity, emphasizing those conservation areas that connect different ecosystems, such as the cloud forest and the paramo.Spectacled bear_item_0_4
  • Rethink roads: where they are built, how and with what purpose, understanding that they define the macro configuration of bear habitat and are a barrier for bear movements and population connectivity.Spectacled bear_item_0_5
  • Integrate hydrological criteria at a landscape scale will benefit bears and other biotic communities that associate with aquatic environments, including humans. Linking bear habitat conservation and water management can be effective for the development of conservation strategies that benefit all.Spectacled bear_item_0_6
  • In places where it is almost impossible to establish new protected areas due mainly to the fact that many people already live in the area, the creation of natural corridors is possibly the best tool for the conservation of species with migratory patterns such as the endangered Andean bear.Spectacled bear_item_0_7

Spectacled bear in Ecuador Spectacled bear_section_11

Spectacled bears in Ecuador live in approximately 50.000 km of paramo and cloud forest habitats. Spectacled bear_sentence_138

From this total area, 33% is part of the National System of Protected Areas and the remaining 67% is located on not legally protected, undeveloped areas that have suffered a substantial reduction of approximately 40% from its original distribution. Spectacled bear_sentence_139

Due to this land-use conversion to agricultural uses, important amounts of the spectacled bear habitat have been lost, fragmenting, at the same time, their territory and isolating populations to small areas that might not be enough for the persistence of the specie in the long term. Spectacled bear_sentence_140

Therefore, the distribution of the specie in the country is set in numerous habitat patches, from which many are small. Spectacled bear_sentence_141

Distribution Spectacled bear_section_12

It could be said that Ecuador is the land of bears. Spectacled bear_sentence_142

The species occupies a variety of habitats including páramos, Andean forests, and cloud forest; and, in southeastern Ecuador, it has been recorded at 290 masl in the Kutuku Mountain Range, in humid piedmont forest. Spectacled bear_sentence_143

Based on spatially explicit ecological niche and occupation models, it is estimated that the current extent of presence and area of occupation of the Andean bear in the Ecuadorian Andes is approximately 78 500 and 71 000 km, respectively. Spectacled bear_sentence_144

31% percent of the estimated area of occupation is within protected areas; an additional 21% is in protective forests, forest heritage, and areas under agreement with Socio Bosque. Spectacled bear_sentence_145

This species inhabits fifteen out of the 24 provinces of the country, on both the eastern and western sides of the Andes, but it is in the western mountain range where its habitat is most threatened, barely protected and where populations, especially in the southwest of the country, are in danger of disappearing. Spectacled bear_sentence_146

Because of this, the MAAE has identified four conservation nucleus for this species, areas that are big enough to conserve ecologically functional populations of the species in the long term with areas larger than 3800 km each. Spectacled bear_sentence_147

Approximately 80% of their area is within protected areas or other management units and 20% is part of disturbed areas and intensive use, but with high potential for connectivity. Spectacled bear_sentence_148

These conservation nucleus were identified and selected based on biological, socioeconomic, and conservation opportunity criteria and are: Spectacled bear_sentence_149

Spectacled bear_unordered_list_1

  • El Ángel - Cotacachi-Cayapas - PululahuaSpectacled bear_item_1_8
  • Cayambe- Coca - LlanganatesSpectacled bear_item_1_9
  • Sangay - Río Negro-SopladoraSpectacled bear_item_1_10
  • Podocarpus - Yacuri - Cerro PlateadoSpectacled bear_item_1_11

Cultural importance of the Andean bear Spectacled bear_section_13

The Andean bear is of great importance to our indigenous nationalities, especially from the highlands, although it is also known by the Achuar, Cofán, Kichwa and Shuar Amazonian indigenous nationalities. Spectacled bear_sentence_150

Thus, depending on the area, it has received various names, the most common being the spectacled bear, although it is also known as cariblanco, negro, anteojudo and bestia, to name a few. Spectacled bear_sentence_151

He also has a name in several of our indigenous languages; "in Achuar Chicham (Achuar language) he is called Chayú; in A'ingae (Cofán language) he is called Ocomari; in Kichwa language he is known as Ukumari, Yana Puma, Yana Usu, or Uturunku, depending on the region or the Kichwa people; In the Pai Cocä language (Secoya people) it is called Kina Take; while in the Shuar Chicham language (Shuar people), the bear is called Chái, Sanchipin Chái, Cheiva or Chiánkrap" (Tirira, 2004). Spectacled bear_sentence_152

There are several myths and legends about this species; many relate its strength, its solitary character and its apparent shyness to highlight characteristics of certain local leaders. Spectacled bear_sentence_153

In several stories from indigenous populations, the conflict between bears and human beings is already narrated, making them look like the beasts that destroy crops; on the other hand, the Shuar consider that the Andean bears should not be touched and, even worse, a child should touch them since that means death. Spectacled bear_sentence_154

National strategy for the Andean Bear Spectacled bear_section_14

Several coordinated conservation efforts for the Andean bears have already been generated in the Andean region: Spectacled bear_sentence_155

Spectacled bear_unordered_list_2

  • National Program for the Conservation of the Andean Bear in Colombia, 2001Spectacled bear_item_2_12
  • Ecoregional Strategy for the Conservation of the Andean Bear Tremarctos ornatus in the Northern Andes, 2003Spectacled bear_item_2_13
  • Action Plan for the Conservation of the Bear in Venezuela, 2007Spectacled bear_item_2_14

Thus, Ecuador joined these efforts in 2010, with the National Strategy for the Conservation of the Andean Bear, through the Ministry of Environment and Water of Ecuador, MAAE. Spectacled bear_sentence_156

This strategy was planned for a period of fifteen years (2010-2025) with the aim of guiding concrete and effective actions aimed at the protection and conservation of the species and its habitats in the country. Spectacled bear_sentence_157

Objectives: Spectacled bear_sentence_158

Spectacled bear_unordered_list_3

  • Update and improve the knowledge of the biology, ecology and distribution of the Andean bear as one of the mechanisms to promote the establishment of connectivity, management and restoration in the areas of distribution of the species.Spectacled bear_item_3_15
  • Develop tools for the management of people-bear conflicts and the search for mechanisms that support the protection and conservation of the species in its distribution area.Spectacled bear_item_3_16
  • Improve knowledge and communication within and between institutions to strengthen the management of bear populations maintained in wildlife management centers.Spectacled bear_item_3_17
  • Promote, improve, and increase levels of public awareness, interest, and sensitivity to the importance and benefits of conserving the Andean Bear and its habitat.Spectacled bear_item_3_18
  • Encourage the active and committed participation of civil society in the enforcement and strengthening of legal regulations as a means to guarantee sustainable development, natural resource management, land use planning, and biodiversity conservation.Spectacled bear_item_3_19
  • Promote management capacity and inter-institutional cooperation among entities involved in conservation with a view to implementing the Andean Bear Strategy in Ecuador.Spectacled bear_item_3_20

Identifying priority areas for the conservation of spectacled bears in Ecuador Spectacled bear_section_15

Due to the accelerated degradation and habitat loss persistent in Ecuador, it becomes a priority to identify the areas that are of importance for the conservation of the Andean bear to avoid the fragmentation and isolation of this population. Spectacled bear_sentence_159

Several areas have been studied for this matter, such as Oyacachi River Basin, the cloud forest of the Metropolitan District of Quito, Intag, the northeastern Andean cordillera, the southern area of the Andes in Ecuador, in order to better understand the habitats where this specie is encountered, determine the areas that might work the best for the creation of habitat blocks or corridors and design conservation strategies that will allow these areas, and what they entail, to remain in the long term. Spectacled bear_sentence_160

Study area example: Northeastern Andean Cordillera Spectacled bear_section_16

The northeastern Ecuadorian Andes study area was formed by the Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve (47.7%), the northern part of the Antisana Ecological Reserve (3,2%), plus adjacent paramo and cloud forest areas from Sucumbíos and Carchi provinces (49.1%), covering a total of 6048 km2 with elevations in between 1800 to 4300 m. Protected areas are usually based on general biodiversity patterns that might not satisfy the needs of large carnivores, therefore, in the long term, some of these areas might not be able to support viable populations of these species, reason why it is important to identify other areas to complement the protected areas system and protect Andean bears regionally. Spectacled bear_sentence_161

Vegetation Spectacled bear_section_17

There exists a huge diversity in this area based on its altitudinal range, geographical position and its multi-climate strata. Spectacled bear_sentence_162

This region is part of the Tropical Andes biome, one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world, as described by Norman Myers back in 2000. Spectacled bear_sentence_163

This is of extreme importance when thinking about the places that guarantee bears adequate access to resources throughout the year and knowing that the bears’ use intensity of the different vegetation types changes with the seasons. Spectacled bear_sentence_164

Watersheds (hydrological resources) Spectacled bear_section_18

Intact watersheds are important to assess to conservation potential of an area. Spectacled bear_sentence_165

The Cayambe Coca Ecological Reserve and its surrounding represent one of the major water reserves of Ecuador, due to their relatively undisturbed and high elevation watersheds. Spectacled bear_sentence_166

In it, four major rivers begin: the Aguarico River (1,395 km), the Quijos River (2,504 km), the Mira River (67 km), and the Esmeraldas River (2,624 km). Spectacled bear_sentence_167

Plus, a total of 1560 watersheds were located, representing 97% (5865 km) of the total study area. Spectacled bear_sentence_168

Land-cover types Spectacled bear_section_19

This northeastern Ecuadorian Andes study area has 4 major land-cover types: Spectacled bear_sentence_169

Spectacled bear_table_general_1

LAND-COVER TYPESpectacled bear_header_cell_1_0_0 HUMAN IMPACTSpectacled bear_header_cell_1_0_1 ALTITUDINAL RANGESpectacled bear_header_cell_1_0_2
Humid paramo (herbaceous paramo, frailejones paramo, cushion paramo, and mixed-forest paramo)Spectacled bear_cell_1_1_0 Limited with relatively low impact on the natural habitats.

Intensity varies according to accessibility and proximity to populated areas.Spectacled bear_cell_1_1_1

3400-4300mSpectacled bear_cell_1_1_2
High evergreen upper montane forestSpectacled bear_cell_1_2_0 3000-3600mSpectacled bear_cell_1_2_1
Montane cloud forestSpectacled bear_cell_1_3_0 1800-3000mSpectacled bear_cell_1_3_1
Disturbed areasSpectacled bear_cell_1_4_0 a) West of the study area: They are predominant in the inter-Andean valleys. These are landscapes dominated by a matrix of anthropogenic land uses such as agriculture, used by humans for millennia and urban area.

b) East of the study area: on the contrary, these are part of recent deforestation and colonization frontiers usually associated with road connectivity in between the highlands (Andes) and the lowlands (Amazon basin).Spectacled bear_cell_1_4_1

Spectacled bear_cell_1_4_2
Important habitat areas: Spectacled bear_section_20

The research was based on past data collection on the presence of bears in the Oyacachi River basin, which is also part of the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve, and a set of 7 environmental variables. Spectacled bear_sentence_170

This made it possible to predict the suitability of the Andean bear habitat using the Mahalanobis distance. Spectacled bear_sentence_171

As a result, 12 important habitat areas for conservation of the spectacled bears were identified, representing 30% (1820km2) of the total study area. Spectacled bear_sentence_172

These areas were classified based on their conservation values with a weighted index including elevation range, influence from disturbed areas and current conservation status. Spectacled bear_sentence_173

They were identified mainly at the cloud forest and at the paramo. Spectacled bear_sentence_174

With this information it was possible to confirm the correlation between human-land use and the fragmentation of the Andean bear habitat in the region. Spectacled bear_sentence_175

At the same time, it allowed us to see the importance of maintaining and preserving the connectivity of the bear population in order to ensure seasonal movements in the different ecosystems they inhabit. Spectacled bear_sentence_176

It is also important to highlight the areas with high habitat suitability but close to areas of intense human use, using conservation strategies, such as bear-human conflict management, to solve related problems. Spectacled bear_sentence_177

The authors of the research also state that a promising conservation opportunity for these animals relates to their livelihood in the highlands while maintaining long-term water supplies. Spectacled bear_sentence_178

Ecological corridor of the Andean bear in the Metropolitan District of Quito -DMQ Spectacled bear_section_21

"Ecological corridors are landscape and ecosystem management strategies that aim to connect remnants of natural vegetation in good condition through areas with light or medium intervention, to prevent habitat fragmentation and increase biodiversity, in order to allow the free movement and dispersion of species and ensure genetic flow between individuals of the same species". Spectacled bear_sentence_179

In the DMQ, the results of the research carried out so far on the Andean bear in the north-west have determined the need to establish a corridor, which connects the national protected areas with local protective forests, private reserves, areas of the Subsystem of Protected Areas of the DMQ, and other areas that despite not being protected still have important remnants of vegetation, whose conservation is crucial for the survival of Andean bears in the north-west of the DMQ. Spectacled bear_sentence_180

It entails the following rural parrishes: Calacalí, Nono, Nanegalito, Nanegal and San José de Minas with 62% of the area under different types of level ecological protections; however, in certain zones there are significant threats that compromise the survival of this species. Spectacled bear_sentence_181

This program is already in course and has objectives based on the protection and recovery of the local ecosystems, secure environmental services for the benefit of the human population; and promote sustainable development thorough tourism, research, education, agro-ecology. Spectacled bear_sentence_182

In popular culture Spectacled bear_section_22

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  • The children's character Paddington Bear is a spectacled bear, famously from "darkest Peru".Spectacled bear_item_4_21

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  • In the documentary Paddington Bear: The Early Years, British actor Stephen Fry encounters a spectacled bear called Yogi, which was kept in a small cage by Andean villagers. Fry bartered with the villagers to have the bear released, and it was taken to an enclosure in Machu Picchu. Fry's interest in the bears led to the follow-up documentary, Stephen Fry and the Spectacled Bears, and he also wrote and published his experiences in Rescuing the Spectacled Bear: A Peruvian Diary.Spectacled bear_item_5_22

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  • In the BBC television programme Serious Andes, a team of eight teenagers built a pre-release enclosure for two spectacled bears before returning them to the wild. The BBC documentary Spectacled Bears: Shadows of the Forest looked at conservation issues and conflicts with farming communities.Spectacled bear_item_6_23

See also Spectacled bear_section_23

Spectacled bear_unordered_list_7


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectacled bear.