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Spectacled Bear
Status Vulnerable
Diet Omnivore
Habitat
Fame
To unlock the spectacled bear in challenge or campaign games, you must earn a 4-star zoo fame rating for your zoo.

Description

  • Spectacled bear is the common name for a South American bear with distinctive facial coloring. Spectacled bears are mostly black or brown, mottled with white or cream, sometimes shading to orange, around the chest, neck, and eye areas, often with a ring encircling part of each eye. Relatives of the spectacled bear once occupied much of North America, but the species is now the only member of its genus still existing. Its present range extends from Bolivia to Colombia, where it is restricted to high, steep, rugged areas unsuitable for agriculture.
  • Spectacled bears are small: The males weigh up to 154 kg (about 340 lb), and the females about 62 kg (about 137 lb). Each foot has five relatively short, sharp, and powerful claws for climbing and tearing apart trees. The bears feed mostly on wild fruits--especially figs--and on leaves, small animals, insects, and succulent herbs and grasses. They often stay in the tops of trees for extended periods, and they build a nest each night for sleeping. They are rather vocal, trilling as they travel, and the young hum when relaxed.
  • Spectacled bears are not a significant threat to humans, but they can do serious damage to agricultural crops. Killing for meat or to reduce crop damage takes a serious toll on spectacled bear populations. Because of human pressures, their ranges are rapidly shrinking in all countries they occupy; only in Bolivia is their status somewhat secure.

Fun Facts

  • Spectacled bears are also known as Andean bears, because they mainly live in the Andes mountain range of South America.
  • The markings around its eyes, which give the spectacled bear its name, are unique to each bear and can be used for identification purposes.
  • The spectacled bear is an important disperser of seeds, passing on seeds of laurel trees and other plants through its droppings.
  • An International Spectacled Bear Symposium held in 1988 brought together field biologists and zoo managers help monitor bear populations in South America.

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