SPECTACLED BEAR – ECOLOGICAL CORRIDOR OF THE ANDEAN BEAR

SPECTACLED BEAR – ECOLOGICAL CORRIDOR OF THE ANDEAN BEAR

The Andean bear or spectacled bear is an endemic specie of the Tropical Andes and is the only representative of the Ursidae family in South America. Its scientific name is Tremarctos ornatus. It is distributed in six countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina.

Primarily vegetarian and furtive, it is considered a noble and solitary animal, with a range of extensive habitat, from forests to moors.In Ecuador it is classified according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as Endangered Species according to the Red Book of Ecuador mammals. It is estimated that their populations have been reduced by at least 25% in the last generation as a result of the loss of their habitat and the pressure for hunting.

In addition to having a small population size (less than 2500 adult individuals) and no sub population exceeds 250 mature individuals (Tirira 2001). If their habitat loss and bear hunting continue at the current rate recorded in the country, this species will become extinct in the next thirty years. The Andean bear has become an emblematic species of Quito Metropolitan District. Through a collaboration between entities, private projects and communities, the “Ecological Corridor of the Andean Bear” was created in 2013.

The corridor is located in the rural parishes of Calacalí, Nanegal, Nanegalito, Nono, San José de Minas, Puéllaro, Perucho, with an extension of more than 60,000 hectares. It links several communities, including Yunguilla, Santa Lucia, El Pahuma and Maquipicuna, to create a conservation and buffer zone for the ecosystem of this emblematic species. The spectacled bear is also called “the gardener” because it is responsible for conserving the ecosystem by defecating the seeds that it eats throughout the forest, and in this way, guarantees that it has sown again. In addition, it contributes to one of the most important areas of biodiversity in the world, the well-known bioregion declared by UNESCO as El Choco Andino de Pichincha Biosphere Reserve.

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