It is also known as the Andean Bear. In Peru, it can be found in both Andean and Amazonian regions. Learn more about them, their diet and customs.
The Spectacled Bear is an extremely special animal. It is the only bear species in all of South America. Its most prominent feature is the presence of white or yellowish spots around the eyes -which give it its curious name- and sometimes reach the throat and chest area. The pattern of these spots is particular to each individual and even allows scientists to distinguish them without the need to mark them. The most common coat color is black, although brown and, to a much lesser extent, reddish specimens are also found.
In Peru, it lives in a great variety of environments and altitudes, since it has been found in Lambayeque, Piura, Cajamarca, Amazonas, San Martin and even other regions. Currently, it is on the list of endangered wildlife species, so its population is monitored and protected for its care.
Do you want to know more about these cute plantigrade? Here you will find some curious facts about them, their behavior and their diet.
AN OMNIVOROUS DIET
Like all bears in the world, it is an omnivore, although 90% of its diet is herbivorous. It mainly consumes fruits, roots, bark and leaves. However, the other 10% of their diet is based on insects, fungi, small mammals and even carrion.
THE LITTLE COUSIN
It is a relatively small bear compared to most of its relatives, as it can reach a maximum of 2 meters in height and 130 kilograms in weight. Just for reference, a North American Kodiak bear can exceed 600 kilograms.
Unlike the rest of the bear species, the Andean bear does not hibernate, because thanks to the enormous biodiversity of our country and the variety of climates in which it lives, its food sources are available all year round. Bears of other species and countries need to hibernate to avoid extreme cold months and food shortages.
AN AGILE AND TALENTED ANIMAL
Although it may not appear so at first glance, the Spectacled Bear is an excellent tree climber and swimmer. They have even been seen building their own platforms on top of trees to take naps and eat in peace and quiet, without being interrupted.
AN ICON OF OUR WORLDVIEW
The Spectacled Bear is very present in Andean and Amazonian folklore and beliefs. In Quechua, he is known as "ukumari" and acts as a mediator between the world of the living and the dead. For their part, the native people of the Matsiguenga consider them to be the creators of life on Earth.