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'Beary' Interesting Facts about the Andean Bear

Have you ever heard of the Andean bear? On July 21, the Zoo will celebrate this lesser known bear through interactive and informational activities in honor of Andean Bear Day. Continue reading to learn some quick facts about this unique species.

7 unique facts about the Andean bear

  • The Andean bear is the only bear species found in South America.

  • They are mainly found along the South American mountain chain, the Andes; hence their name.

  • With unique markings on their face, they are also known as the spectacled bear.

  • Andean bear cubs are born blind.

  • Unlike most other bears, they are mostly vegetarian with roughly only 5% of their diet being meat.

  • Their average lifespan in the wild is about 20 years.

  • According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Andean bear is classified as “vulnerable” with population steadily decreasing. Their habitat is threatened by human activities such as deforestation, agriculture and mining. They are often hunted for a perceived threat to livestock even though they eat very little meat.

The Andean bear is one of the Zoo's six key programs of conservation. Habitat loss has made this elusive bear vulnerable in the wild. As a founding member of Andean Bear Conservation Alliance, the Zoo has worked with field scientist Isaac Goldstein for more than 10 years to create and implement tools and programs to monitor bear populations. Visit our website to learn more about what you can do to help!

As you have read, there are many things that make the Andean bear unique. So unique that you absolutely must see them in person. Visit the Zoo this weekend to celebrate Andean Bear Day and see this special bear up close and personal!

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