Scientific Name: Tremarctos ornatus
South America’s only bear species, the Spectacled bear is the last of the “short-faced” bear subfamily. Their name comes from their distinctive light colored fur on their face, which can give the impression the bears are wearing glasses.
Generally these bears are not aggressive unless threatened or protecting young. This species is perhaps the least studies of the bears.
SEE Spectacled Bears on these Adventures:
Spectacled Bear Facts
- They are the most vegetarian of bears; only roughly 5% of their diet is meat.
- Also known as Andean Bears, they are found across the South American mountain chain.
- Among the smallest of the bears, they average 5-6 feet tall and up to 350 lbs.
Spectacled bears are found across South America, specifically throughout the Andes Mountains, including Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. They live in a variety of habitats, including rainforest, cloud forest, steppe, and dry forest.
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
Population Trend: Decreasing
These bears are often hunted for the perceived threat to livestock though they eat very little meat. Their habitat is threatened due to human activities including deforestation, agriculture, and mining and only a small portion of their range is protected. Their gall bladders are also sought after for traditional Asian medicine.
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