The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the Andean bear or Andean short-faced bear and locally as jukumari (Aymara), ukumari (Quechua) or ukuku, is the last remaining short-faced bear (subfamily Tremarctinae). 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 bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the only surviving member of the subfamily Tremarctinae. The species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN because of habitat loss.
|At the Houston Zoo|
|Spectacled bear range|
Ursus ornatus Cuvier, 1825
The spectacled bear is the only bear native to South America and is the largest land carnivoran on that part of the continent, although as little as 5% of its diet is composed of meat. South America's largest obligate carnivorous mammal is the jaguar (Panthera onca). 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. The spectacled bear is a mid-sized species of bear. Overall, its fur is blackish in color, though bears may vary from jet black to dark brown and to even a reddish hue. The species typically has distinctive beige or ginger-coloured markings across its face and upper chest, though not all spectacled bears have "spectacle" markings. The pattern and extent of pale markings are slightly different on each individual bear, and bears can be readily distinguished by this. Males are a third larger than females in dimensions and sometimes twice their weight. 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). 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). 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. A male in captivity that was considered obese weighed 222.5 kg (491 lb). 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). Compared to other living bears, this species has a more rounded face with a relatively short and broad snout. 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.
Despite some rare spilling-over into eastern Panama, spectacled bears are mostly restricted to certain areas of northern and western South America. They can range in western Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia, and northwestern Argentina. The species is found almost entirely in the Andes Mountains. 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. 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. The best habitats for spectacled bears are humid to very humid montane forests. 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. Generally, the wetter these forests are the more food species there are that can support bears. 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. They can even range up to the mountain snow line at over 5,000 m (16,000 ft) in elevation.
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.
The root trem- comes from a Greek word meaning "hole;" arctos is the Greek word for "bear." Tremarctos is a reference to an unusual hole on the animal's humerus. Ornatus, Latin for "decorated", is a reference to the markings that give the bear its common English name.
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). 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. Their continued survival alongside humans has depended mostly on their ability to climb even the tallest trees of the Andes. They usually retreat from the presence of humans, often by climbing trees. Once up a tree, they may often build a platform, perhaps to aid in concealment, as well as to rest and store food on. Although spectacled bears are solitary and tend to isolate themselves from one another to avoid competition, they are not territorial. They have even been recorded to feed in small groups at abundant food sources. Males are reported to have an average home range of 23 km2 (8.9 sq mi) during the wet season and 27 km2 (10 sq mi) during the dry season. Females are reported to have an average home range of 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi) in the wet season and 7 km2 (2.7 sq mi) in the dry season. 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. Like other bears, mothers are protective of their young and have attacked poachers. There is only a single reported human death due to a spectacled bear, which occurred while it was being hunted and was already shot. The only predators of cubs include cougars (Puma concolor) and possibly male spectacled bears. 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. Generally, the only threat against adult bears is humans. The longest-lived captive bear, at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, attained a lifespan of 36 years and 8 months. 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 bears are more herbivorous than most other bears; normally about 5 to 7% of their diets is meat. The most common foods for these bears include cactus, bromeliads (especially Puya ssp., Tillandsia ssp. and Guzmania ssp.) palm nuts, bamboo hearts, frailejon (Espeletia spp.), orchid bulbs, fallen fruit on the forest floor, and unopened palm leaves. They will also peel back tree bark to eat the nutritious second layer. 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. 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. Not coincidentally, both species are known for extensively consuming tough, fibrous plants. 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. The musculature and tooth characteristics are designed to support the stresses of grinding and crushing vegetation. Besides the giant panda, the spectacled bear is perhaps the most herbivorous living bear species. These bears also eat cultivated plants, such as sugarcane (Saccharum ssp.), honey (made by Apis ssp.), and corn (Zea mays), and have been known to travel above the tree line for berries and more ground-based bromeliads. When food is abundant, such as large corn fields, up to nine individual bears have fed close by each other in a single vicinity. 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). 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. Animal prey has included rabbits, mice, other rodents, birds at the nest (especially ground-nesting birds like tinamous or lapwings (Vanellus ssp.)), arthropods, and carrion. They are occasionally accused of killing livestock, especially cattle, and raiding corn fields. 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. Due to fear of loss of stock, bears may be killed on sight.
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. The mating pair are together for one to two weeks, during which they will copulate multiple times. Births usually occur in the dry season, between December and February. The gestation period is 5.5 to 8.5 months. From one to three cubs may be born, with four being rare and two being the average. The cubs are born with their eyes closed and weigh about 300 to 330 g (11 to 12 oz) each. 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. 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. The cubs often stay with the female for one year before striking out on their own. Breeding maturity is estimated to be reached at between four and seven years of age for both sexes, based solely on captive bears.
The Andean bear is threatened due to poaching and habitat loss. Poaching might have several reasons: trophy hunting, pet trade, religious or magical beliefs, natural products trade and conflicts with humans.
Trophy hunting of Andean bear was apparently popular during the 19th century in some rural areas of Latin-America. In the costumbrist novel "María" by Colombian writer Jorge Isaacs, it was portrayed as an activity for privileged young men in Colombia. Tales regarding pet bears are also known from documents about the Ecuadorian aristocracy of that time. 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.
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. In this context, the trade of bear parts might have commercial value. Their gall bladders appear to be valued in traditional Chinese medicine and can fetch a high price on the international market.
Conflicts with humans, however, appear to be the most common cause of poaching in large portions of its distribution. Andean Bears are often suspected of attacking cattle and raiding crops, and are killed for retaliation or in order to avoid further damages. It has been argued that attacks to cattle attributed to Andean bear are partly due to other predators. 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.
The intensity of poaching can create ecological traps for Andean bears. That is, if bears are attracted to areas of high habitat quality that are also high in poaching risk.
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. As little as 5% of the original habitat in Andean cloud forest remains. Shortage of natural food sources might push bears to feed on crops or livestock, increasing the conflict that usually results in poaching of individual.
Impacts of climate changes on bear habitat and food sources are not fully understood, but might have potential negative impact in the near future.
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.
National governments, NGOs and rural communities have made different commitments to conservation of this species along its distribution. 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. The effort of several organizations 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. 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.
Colombian 50 pesos coin, with an image of a Spectacled bear and text "oso de anteojos – Tremarctos ornatus" on the obverse.
The children's character Paddington Bear is a spectacled bear, famously from "darkest Peru". 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.
In the BBC television programme Serious Andes, a team of eight teenagers built a prerelease 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.
It's surprising that the earnest little chap wasn't given glasses. Bond wanted to Paddington to have "travelled all the way from darkest Africa", but was advised by his agent to change his country of origin due to the lack of bears in Africa. Instead, he picked Peru - home to the Spectacled Bear.
Amboró National Park in central Bolivia is a nature reserve with over 912 species of birds, over 177 mammalian species including puma, ocelot, and the rare spectacled bear. Covering an area of 4,425 km² (1,709 sq mi), it is protected from human settlements, hunting, mining and deforestation, though problems with all these still exist within the park. The Carrasco National Park is placed adjacent to Amboró, and together the two form a larger conservation unit.Arctotherium
Arctotherium is an extinct genus of Central and South American short-faced bears within Ursidae of the Pleistocene. Their ancestors migrated from North America to South America during the Great American Interchange, following the formation of the Isthmus of Panama during the late Pliocene. The oldest confirmed remains are from the Ensenadan epoch within the Early to Middle Pleistocene 1.2 Mya with a tooth possibly belonging to Arctotherium dating about 2.588 Mya. Their closest known relative is the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus).Bear
Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails.
While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous, and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous with varied diets. With the exception of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals. They may be diurnal or nocturnal and have an excellent sense of smell. Despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they are adept runners, climbers, and swimmers. Bears use shelters, such as caves and logs, as their dens; most species occupy their dens during the winter for a long period of hibernation, up to 100 days.
Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur; they have been used for bear-baiting and other forms of entertainment, such as being made to dance. With their powerful physical presence, they play a prominent role in the arts, mythology, and other cultural aspects of various human societies. In modern times, bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats and illegal trade in bear parts, including the Asian bile bear market. The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, and even least concern species, such as the brown bear, are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations are prohibited, but still ongoing.Chongoyape District
Chongoyape District is one of twenty districts of the province Chiclayo in Peru, located in the Department of Lambayeque, under the administration of the regional government of Lambayeque, Peru. The Tinajones reservoir and Carhuaquero hydroelectric center are nearby.Cutervo National Park
Cutervo National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional de Cutervo), established in 1961, is the oldest protected area in Peru. It is located in the northern Peruvian Andes, in the region of Cajamarca. The park was extended to 8,214 hectares (31.71 sq mi) and protects areas of Andean montane forests and paramo for headwater conservation. Moreover, those areas are the habitat of animal species like the spectacled bear, the mountain tapir, and the oilbird; and plant species like the Andean wax palms.Jolljepunco (mountain)
Jolljepunco (possibly from Quechua qullqi money, silver, p'unqu pond, reservoir, tank; dam, "silver pond"), Colquepunco (possibly from Quechua punku door, "silver door") or Sasahui (sasawi) local name for Leucheria daucifolia, -ni an Aymara suffix to indicate ownership, "the one with the sasawi plant", hispanicized Sasahuini) is a mountain in the Andes of Peru and the name of a lake near the peak. The mountain is about 5,522 metres (18,117 ft) high. It is situated in the northern extensions of the Vilcanota mountain range in the Cusco Region, Quispicanchi Province, in the districts Ccarhuayo and Ocongate and in the Paucartambo Province, Kosñipata District. Jolljepunco lies northwest of the lake Singrenacocha, southeast of Minasnioc. The lake named Jolljepunco is situated south of the mountain at 13°32′04″S 71°12′29″W.The annual Quyllur Rit'i festival takes place at the foot of the mountains Jolljepunco and Cinajara. The ukukus (Cusco Quechua ukuku spectacled bear (or just 'bear'), also a character in the Andean mythology) of all the groups climb the glaciers of Jolljepunco and spend the night there. They return, carrying on their backs huge ice blocks for the people of their community. The waters of the mountain are believed to heal the body and the mind.Laquipampa Wildlife Refuge
Laquipampa Wildlife Refuge is a protected area in the region of Lambayeque, Peru. It protects tropical dry forests, habitat of the white-winged guan and the spectacled bear.List of bears
Below follows a list of the different species of bears. Bears indented are a subspecies or type of the species listed above it that is non-indented.Maquipucuna
Maquipucuna is a 6,000 hectare (14,820 acre) cloud forest reserve in Ecuador. Located in the Pichincha Province, it is the closest pristine rainforest to Quito, Ecuador's capital. The reserve consists of primary and secondary montane rain forest and cloud forest. The Maquipucuna Reserve is located in the parish of Nanegal, within the Metropolitan District of Quito.Papallacta
Papallacta is a small village in Napo Province, Ecuador located at an altitude of 3,300 m in the Andes just off the Eastern Cordilleras on the road from Quito which leads into the Amazon jungle. The scenic drive from Quito to Papallacta passes through several towns and small villages before ascending to a peak of over 4,000 m, from where mountains and glaciers are visible. Descending from the peak to Papallacta, the ecosystems transform from alpine to tropical jungle.
Several hot springs and spas are located in Papallacta. Many of the local restaurants are known for their steamed trout. For lodging, there are several hotels and a resort.
Lake Papallacta and its surrounding watershed previously provided much of the drinking water for Quito, but because of frequent landslides in the region and the fact that the water pipeline and oil pipeline from the Amazon jungle pass in close proximity, a 2003 oil spill contaminated the lake, affecting recreational uses as well as clean water.The mammals of Papallacta have been studied in detail. The following species have been recorded in the vicinity of the village:
Order Paucituberculata (shrew opossums)
Order Didelphimorphia (opossums)
Order Eulipotyphla (insectivores)
Cryptotis cf. montivagus
Order Carnivora (carnivorans)
Culpeo (Pseudalopex culpaeus)
Pampas cat (Leopardus pajeros)
Conepatus cf. semistriatus
Long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata)
Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus)
Order Cetartiodactyla (even-toed ungulates and whales)
Northern pudu (Pudu mephistophiles)
Order Perissodactyla (odd-toed ungulates)
Mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque)
Order Rodentia (rodents)
Mountain paca (Cuniculus taczanowskii)
Order Lagomorpha (hares, rabbits, and pikas)
Tapeti (Sylvilagus brasiliensis)Sierra La Culata National Park
The Sierra La Culata National Park (Spanish: Parque nacional Sierra de La Culata) Also Sierra de la Culata National Park is a national park of Venezuela that is located in the northeastern branch of the Venezuelan Andes, in the states Mérida and Trujillo. It was decreed a national park on December 7, 1989. It has a high mountain climate, with temperatures ranging between −2 and 24 °C (28 and 75 °F), and its surface area is 200,400 hectares (774 sq mi).
The vegetation is characterized by the presence of numerous species of frailejones, shrubs such as ericaceae and melastomataceae; ferns and numerous mosses, liver lichens and fungi. The tree of the zone is the Coloradito.
This park houses species such as the Jaguar, the Spectacled bear, the Armadillo, the Loach, the Andean condor, and amphibians such as the nurse frog (sapito niñera).Within the park are at least one endemic species of brachythermal butterfly (Round empetrus).Spectacled Bear Conservation Society
The Spectacled Bear Conservation Society - Peru (SBC) is a team of researchers and conservationists working to study and protect the endangered spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the Andean bear. Spectacled bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the only surviving member of the subfamily Tremarctinae, the short-faced bears. Their range is the Andean Mountains from Venezuela to Chile.Stephen Fry
Stephen John Fry (born 24 August 1957) is an English comedian, actor and writer. He and Hugh Laurie are the comic double act Fry and Laurie, who starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster.
Fry's acting roles include a Golden Globe Award–nominated lead performance in the film Wilde, Melchett in the BBC television series Blackadder, the title character in the television series Kingdom, a recurring guest role as Dr Gordon Wyatt on the crime series Bones, and as Gordon Deitrich in the dystopian thriller V for Vendetta. He has also written and presented several documentary series, including the Emmy Award–winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which saw him explore his bipolar disorder, and the travel series Stephen Fry in America. He was also the long-time host of the BBC television quiz show QI, with his tenure lasting from 2003 to 2016.
Besides working in television, Fry has contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines and written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles, and More Fool Me. He also appears frequently on BBC Radio 4, starring in the comedy series Absolute Power, being a frequent guest on panel games such as Just a Minute, and acting as chairman during one series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, where he was one of a trio of possible hosts who were tried out to succeed the late Humphrey Lyttelton, Jack Dee getting the post permanently.
Fry is also known for his voice-overs, reading all seven of the Harry Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings, narrating the LittleBigPlanet and Birds of Steel series of video games, as well as an animated series of explanations of the laws of cricket, and a series of animations about Humanism for Humanists UK. He has also filmed commercials, including an advertisement where he explains the essence of British culture to foreigners arriving at London's Heathrow Airport.Tremarctinae
The Tremarctinae or short-faced bears is a subfamily of Ursidae that contains one living representative, the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) of South America, and several extinct species from four genera: the Florida spectacled bear (Tremarctos floridanus), the North American short-faced bears of genera Plionarctos (P. edensis and P. harroldorum) and Arctodus (A. pristinus and A. simus), and the South American giant short-faced bears of Arctotherium (including A. angustidens, A. vetustum, A. bonariense, A. wingei, and A. tarijense).Tremarctos
Tremarctos is a genus of the family Ursidae, subfamily Tremarctinae endemic to Americas from the Pliocene to recent. The northern species, the Florida short-faced bear, was extinct 11 000 years ago. The sole living Tremarctos species is the South American spectacled bear.Tremarctos floridanus
Tremarctos floridanus, occasionally called the Florida spectacled bear, Florida cave bear, or rarely Florida short-faced bear, is an extinct species of bear in the family Ursidae, subfamily Tremarctinae. T. floridanus was endemic to North America from the Pliocene to the end of the Pleistocene epoch (4.9 million–12,000 years ago), existing for approximately 4.9 million years.Ukumari
Ukumari (Quechua for bear or spectacled bear) may refer to:
Ukumari (Inca warrior)
A regional park in Colombia
Another name for the spectacled bearUkumari (Inca warrior)
Ukumari (Quechua for bear or spectacled bear, hispanicized spelling Ucumari) was an Inca prince and general supporting the cause of Atahualpa in the Inca Civil War.
The name is used for a military leader in a children's historical novel by Daniel Peters.Wildlife of Peru
Peru has some of the greatest biodiversity in the world because of the presence of the Andes, Amazon Rainforest, and the Pacific Ocean.
Extant Carnivora species