Saving the Spectacled Bear at Yanacocha Reserve, Ecuador
Immortalised in the children’s book A Bear Called Paddington, the Spectacled Bear is native to South America. But, in contrast to heart-warming tales of Paddington, the Spectacled Bear’s real story is less happy. Its forest home in the tropical Andes is rapidly disappearing through deforestation, expanding agriculture and un-controlled fires. In Ecuador, there are fewer than 2,000 Spectacled Bears and these animals rely on nature reserves in the mountains. The conservation of this vulnerable species is at the heart of a project at Yanacocha Reserve where, 20km from Quito, highland paramó and polylepis forest provide ideal habitat for bears. These forests also protect other threatened species, including the Critically Endangered Black-breasted Puffleg hummingbird. Developed by Fundación Jocotoco, this project will implement a fire prevention strategy to reduce habitat loss, use camera traps to monitor bears and establish an education programme to highlight the urgent need to save the Spectacled Bear.