Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Andean Bear

Tremarctos ornatus

The Andean bear is the only bear native to South America. It is arboreal and builds platform nests in trees for eating and sleeping.


Range & Habitat

Grasslands, coastal scrub forests, cloud forests and Andean forests of the Andes Mountains in South America, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Andean bears have also been seen in parts of eastern Panama and northern Argentina. They prefer lush, misty ecosystems at elevations between 5,900 and 12,500 feet.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

This species is listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and poaching.

Diet

In the Wild: Fruit, tropical flowering plants, bulbs, berries, grasses, leaves, cactus flowers, palm fronds, tree bark, nuts, seeds, insects, and small animals such as rodents, birds and carrion.

At the Zoo: Apples, carrots, grapes, yams, oranges, omnivore diet and dog food.

Life Span

In the Wild: 20 years
In Human Care: 30-plus years

Fun Facts about the Andean Bear

  •  The Andean bear is also known as the spectacled bear. The unique markings around the bear’s face are reminiscent of glasses or “spectacles.” Not every Andean bear has face markings in this pattern.
  •  As with human fingerprints, each Andean bear has its own unique markings on its head, throat, and chest, which help researchers identify them in the wild.
  •  Andean bears are true arboreal bears; they create platforms in the understory of trees to aid them in foraging for food and for sleeping.
  •  Andean bears grow to be 5 to 6 feet long and stand 2 to 3 feet (0.6 high at the shoulder. Males can weigh up to 340 pounds while females rarely reach more than 180 pounds.

Sources

Andean (Spectacled) Bear. (2020). Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/andean-spectacled-bear

Andean bear. (2019, September 11). Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/andean-bear

Dugmore, K. (1967, January 01). Just Fun Facts. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from http://justfunfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-spectacled-bears/

 

Updated June 22, 2021
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