The Andean bear is native to South America. They live in temperate and tropical regions in the Andean mountain ranges in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentine. There are historic records in Panama, but the species in no longer found there. Its altitude range varies from 200 to 4300 masl. Its habitat includes paramo grasslands, rainforest, cloud forest, and dry forest.
Andean Bear populations are declining. IUCN estimates between 2500 and 10,000 mature individuals. The largest populations are found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The species is rapidly disappearing. Human population growth has caused habitat loss and encroachment, because of productive activities such as livestock and agriculture. Additionally. Andean bears are illegally hunted as a trophy and to “protect” livestock and crops. Additionally, climate disruption could severely affect its habitat and food supply.
The Andean bear is listed as vulnerable by IUCN land it is listed in CITES Appendix, indicating that its trade is prohibited. Main conservation It is protected One of the main actions for its conservation has been the establishment of Protected Natural Areas. According to IUCN data, there is a record of 58 protected areas consistent with its distribution, however there is a large part of the territory where it lives that needs protection.
There are various research programs and projects by government organizations, universities, zoos; dedicated to the preservation of the Andean bear. Monitoring of the Andean bear is essential so that there are fewer conflicts when there are interactions with humans. Best practices in the use of natural resources are promoted, in order to mitigate the loss of biodiversity; it is a great advance that there is currently more information about the species, but a greater effort is required to really help guarantee its survival.
Wildlife Conservation Network
Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
The International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA)