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Spectacled Bear Pictures 
Spectacled bear in captivity
Spectacled Bear in Captivity prior to Liberation

Rescued bear cubs with bear biologist
Orphaned Bear Cubs Rescued by the Andean Bear Project

Spectacled bear in tree
Spectacled Bear in Tree

Andean bear in captivity in Ecuador
Andean Bear Cub in Rescue Centre in Ecuador
 

Spectacled bear (also known as Andean bear) with GPS collar
Male Andean Bear Fitted with GPS Collar for Tracking

Andean (spectacled) bear cub
Spectacled Bear Cub
Reared in Captivity

A spectacled or Andean bear at Quito Zoo in Ecuador
Spectacled Bear at Quito Zoo

Useful Bear Links:

Andean Bear
Conservation Project


Andean Bear
Foundation on Ammado



 Andean bears,
Tremarctos ornatus,
also known as spectacled bears for their eye-markings, are the
only type of bear in Ecuador and in South America.


Spectacled Bears of Ecuador Photo Gallery

The Spectacled bear, Tremarctos ornatus, is the only type of bear found in South America.  They are named due to the distinctive markings around their eyes, but are also known as Andean bears.  The world's most famous spectacled bear is probably Paddington, from "deepest, darkest Peru", but the bears are also found in Ecuador as well as Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and northern Argentina.  Ecuador's best known spectacled bear is Bubu, who was rehabilitated and returned to the wild by the Andean Bear Foundation.
Spectacled bear, Tremarctos ornatus, in Quito Zoo
Andean or spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) in Ecuador.
Andean bears live in cloud forests, mountains and paramo in Ecuador.  These endangered bears are suffering the consquences of deforestation.  Much of their habitat has been destroyed by man and the lack of forests is increasingly bringing them into conflict with farmers.  Forced out of their forest home, the bears have discovered a taste for ripe, juicy maize.  Infuriated farmers have been known to shoot them (this is illegal) and the bear cubs have sometimes been kept on farms or in hotels and hostels.  
Andean bear, Tremarctos ornatus, raiding a corn field in Ecuador
Spectacled or Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) in a maize field in Ecuador.
Note the radio collar fitted on this bear, which is part of a research programme.
Photo by Philippe Henry for the Andean Bear Conservation Project, published in an article in Ecuador Tierra Incognita.
In Ecuador, the orphaned bear cubs are usually given to or rescued by the Andean Bear Conservation Project, which supervises their care in rescue centres until they are a couple of years old.  At this point they are old enough to live on their own and the project rehabilitates and then liberates them in suitable locations.  Several Andean bears in Ecuador have now been successfully rehabilitated by the project and at least one has mated and produced a bear cub of her own.  These new bear cubs are especially important for the future of the species as they increase the genetic diversity of the endangered bears in the local area.
Spectacled bear in Ecuador
A young spectacled bear, Tremarctus ornatus, in a wildlife rescue centre in Ecuador.
Photo thanks to the Andean Bear Conservation Project.
Spectacled bears are mostly vegetarian.  In the north of Ecuador the bulk of their diet consists of the soft middle of a type of bamboo.  They supplement this with insects, worms, bromeliads and any carrion they find.  In recent years they have begun to eat maize (sweetcorn) from farmers' fields.  In some areas bears have been known to attack and kill cattle to eat, but this is not common - only the male bears are large enough to attack a cow, and most of them don't seem to.    
Spectacled bear picture
A wild female spectacled bear.   Photo thanks to the Andean Bear Conservation Project.
Male spectacled bears are much larger than the females and may range over a wide distance.  The female bears have smaller territories.  The females usually give birth to one or two bear cubs at a time and the cubs seem to stay with their mothers for perhaps a year or so.  These shy bears are not well understood, partly because of the difficulty of research in the wild, isolated areas where they prefer to live and breed.
Measuring the paw of a spectacled bear
This project is researching the endangered bears in Ecuador.
Photo thanks to the Andean Bear Conservation Project.
Andean bears are timid and rarely seen in the wild.  For a guaranteed sighting of a spectacled bear in Ecuador, try Quito Zoo where they have two male bears on display.


Ecuador in Photos: Spectacled Bear Pictures
Bear facts and images of some of Ecuador's only type of bear, the Tremarctos ornatus, also known as Andean bear or spectacled bear.  Some of these bear photos, taken mostly in northern Ecuador, have been provided by the Andean Bear Conservation Project and its supporters.