Manakin Nature Tours, the best birdwatching and wildlife photography tours in Colombia and Latin America.

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Spectacled bear – Chingaza National Park

The spectacled bear is the only species of bear in South America and one of the most emblematic mammals of the tropical Andes.
The Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is endemic to South America and is classified as “vulnerable to extinction” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN 2018). Is found from Venezuela to Northern Argentina, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. According to some researchers, the greatest number of bears is to be found on the borders between Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Recently estimated population sizes for most areas are small, with a total estimate for the Northern Andes (excluding most of Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina) comprised anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 individuals.
Spectacled bear are medium-sized bears: adult weight ranges from 60 to 175kg and body length from 1.12 to 2.22m; individual variation is probably related to climate and food availability, They are omnivorous: mainly frugivorous/florivorous, with occasional feeding on animal protein, similar to other bear species, Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) and palm trees (Arecaceae) constitute the staple food of Spectacled bear almost in their entire range. Animal protein is consumed opportunistically throughout the Andes and makes up only a small proportion of food intake. They feed on domestic animals and occasionally raid crops; both of these activities have naturally led to conflicts with humans, which usually result in retribution poaching. Thus, Andean bears represent a major conservation challenge.
Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation are the main threats to Spectacled bear survival. The expansion of the agricultural frontier, promoted by poorly planned agrarian reforms and inadequate farming practices (e.g. monocultures, slash and burn, shifting cultivation, extensive highland grazing), has been the main cause of the reduction of Spectacled bear habitats.
Being able to observe this species in the wild is not always easy, however sometimes we have the great opportunity to have these encounters! The Spectacled bear is one of the guardians of Paramo! This extremely rich and important ecosystem for biodiversity!
This weekend our Tour Manager Ivan Rocha had the opportunity to photograph this rarity in the Chingaza National Natural Park! Enjoy!
Amazing moments
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