The spectacled bear, also known as the Andean bear, is one of many species threatened throughout the Andean Corridor in Ecuador and Peru. As South America’s only bear, it mostly feeds on plants and vegetation. But if the Andes’ vital ecosystems continue to be threatened by destruction of forest for cattle grazing, logging and other commercial activities, the spectacled bear will not survive.

You can help conserve the habitat of spectacled bears

Help ensure that the home of the spectacled bear and other threatened and endangered species is protected. Your gift will be matched — dollar for dollar — up to $25,000.

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Where the spectacled bear lives

Rich Andean cloud forests and native grasslands

Nature and Culture International’s Andean Corridor project will span over more than one hundred miles to protect the vital ecosystems of the Andes Mountains, including rich cloud forests and páramos, or native grasslands, that are home to vulnerable species — including the spectacled bear.

The Andes’ eastern slope is considered by leading experts to be the world’s number one biodiversity hotspot due to its species richness and diversity — and its ecosystems regulate the natural cycles that produce and renew our air, water and climate. Having already supported the protection of approximately 1,000,000 acres of land in the Andes of Ecuador and Peru, with your help Nature and Culture plans to double that number by the end of next year.

We’re working with the municipalities of Santiago de Méndez, Sigsig and Sevilla de Oro, where we are providing extensive technical support for the creation of three new reserves. In addition, we are partnering with FONAPA, the regional water fund, to establish a mechanism that will permanently fund ongoing conservation activities within the reserve.

If we don’t protect its home,

the spectacled bear faces extinction

Spectacled bear facts:

Size:

5 to 6 feet

Weight:

220 to 340 lbs (males)

Life Span:

Up to 25 years

Diet:

Plants

Other:

  • The only bear found in South America
  • Distinctive markings that resemble eyeglasses
  • No other bear is known to eat bromeliad plants
  • Very shy and generally nocturnal

You can help.

Protect the home of spectacled bears and their survival.

Field report from Nature and Culture’s President and CEO Matt Clark in Loja, Ecuador

Spectacled bear seen by Matt Clark in Ecuador’s Podocarpus National Park.

As my family and I stood transfixed at the entrance to Podocarpus National Park in Ecuador one Christmas, we watched a spectacled bear dig out the roots of a bromeliad plant. She was aware of us, lifting her head every few minutes to glance our way, but was mostly fixated on the roots. We watched for an hour. It was magical, and two years later it’s still one of the stories I tell most.

I admire the spectacled bear, or Andean bear, as a keystone species, the so-called “gardener of the forest,” dispersing seeds far and wide for the dozens of plant species it is known to eat. The spectacled bear helps to replant the forest. I find it intellectually interesting to speculate how the spectacled bear ended up on the other side of the planet from its closest living relative, the panda. But what I come back to, time and again, is the bear I saw. Something deep inside me was moved that day.

I worry about the bear. According to the World Conservation Union, populations of the spectacled bear — South America´s only bear species — are declining dramatically and it is losing habitat at 2-4% a year. A small but important part of me would be lost if the spectacled bear goes extinct.

There is good news though. For more than 20 years, Nature and Culture International has helped conserve millions of acres of irreplaceable habitat that is home to countless species — some of which we don´t even know exist yet.

So whether what moves you deep inside is a bear, an orchid, a glass frog, or something closer to home, I ask you to join me in giving to support the work of Nature and Culture —so that future generations will have something that resonates deep inside, as my Christmas bear did, and continues to do for me.