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Andean Bear Conservation

Support Andean bear conservation

Andean bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the last remaining of the short-faced bears in the world.

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Habitat loss has made this elusive bear vulnerable in the wild. The Zoo’s Andean Bear Conservation Alliance (ABCA), and ABCA field scientists Isaac Goldstein and Robert Marquez, have been working for more than 12 years to create and implement tools and programs that monitor bear populations and habitats and promote Andean bear conservation. ABCA monitoring methods are now being used in 15 protected areas throughout the Andean bear range and are the national standard in the National Park Systems of Colombia and Peru.

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The challenge

Andean bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the last remaining of the short-faced bears in the world. Populations throughout their range are vulnerable due to habitat loss and the challenge of coexisting with humans. Experts predict that Andean bears will be considered endangered in the next 20 years. Research on bear distribution, threats, and remaining habitat is needed to design effective conservation strategies for this threatened species.

What we're doing

The Zoo’s Andean Bear Conservation Alliance (ABCA) and ABCA field scientists Isaac Goldstein and Robert Marquez have been working for more than 12 years to create and implement tools and programs that monitor bear populations and habitats and promote Andean bear conservation. ABCA is a partnership initiative that includes Cornell University, the IUCN Bear Specialist Group, National Natural Parks of Colombia (PARQUES), the National Service of Protected Natural Areas Peru (SERNANP), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other partners working together to create and strategically implement monitoring programs and range-wide conservation plans for the Andean bear.

ABCA protects Andean bears and their habitats by:

  • Presenting training courses and interactive workshops for students and conservation professionals, including Andean bear population monitoring and field conservation methods
  • Conducting and facilitating Andean bear conservation research and the development of monitoring tools and methodologies
  • Promoting capacity building efforts and developing management tools that foster human-Andean bear coexistence
  • Supporting the establishment and implementation of monitoring programs, collaborative conservation plans, and range-wide conservation strategies for Andean bears

How you can help

Join our efforts to secure a future for Andean bears.

  • Make a donation toward Andean bear conservation at the top of this page.
  • Be a responsible consumer. Purchase certified shade-grown, bird friendly coffee and other sustainably produced products. Encourage others to do the same.

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Andean bear monitoring group

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Blog: Why are Andean bears a key project within Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Future for Wildlife program?


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Blog: A 2017 study shows Andean bears in Peru's most visited tourist destination, Machu Piccu.


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Conservation Training:
Scientists and National Park Service professionals are being trained to collect data on Andean bears in a consistent and systematic way throughout the Andean bear range.


Select photos courtesy of the Andean Bear Conservation Alliance

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