The Spectacled Bear
The spectacled bear is the last living member of its scientific family Tremarctinae, and is the only bear species in the whole of South America! It gets its name from the spectacle-shaped markings that can be found on most, but not all, spectacled bears – see the markings around its eyes? It is also known as the Andean bear since it is only found in the Andes mountains.
But within this small range, this short-faced bear is known to be very adaptable and can live in a variety of habitats such as cloud forests, scrub deserts and even up to the mountain snow line at about 5,000 m.! It is usually shy and solitary, avoiding confrontation with other animals, unless its cubs are threatened. It can live for up to twenty years.
This bear is arboreal, which means it lives in trees. It is known to build a small platform on trees, where it can store food, or relax. Unfortunately, much of this bear’s habitat has been destroyed for agriculture, forcing it to rely on crops for food. This results in hunting by farmers who believe the bear will eat their livestock. This is highly unlikely, since the spectacled bear does not eat large quantities of meat, but prefers cactus, fallen fruit, bamboo hearts and the yummy nutritional layer it finds by peeling back tree barks.
Author: Sanctuary Asia, First appeared in: Sanctuary Cub, March 2013.
Note: This is an image of a captive animal. Sanctuary does not endorse the capture of wild animals for zoos and other entertainment purposes.