Andean bears, the only bear species found in South America, live high in the misty cloud forests. White markings around their eyes make them appear to be wearing glasses.
Black fur with white-yellowish stripes which arch over the base of the nose and eyes give a spectacled appearance to this bear. The markings around the eyes vary considerably between individuals. Males weigh up to 250 pounds on average, although ones as heavy as 400 pounds have been found. Females weigh between 74 to 150 lbs. Total body length can be from 60 to 72 inches. This animal is considered to be rare.
This bear is a good climber and uses its long muzzle to eat bromeliad hearts, leaf stems of palm leaves, as well as figs and other fruit. It will also eat insects, carrion and occasionally kill a small animal or even something as big as a deer or guanaco. The least carnivorous of all bears, the Andean bear is but one of four bears found south of the equator, the others being the sun bear, the sloth bear and the Asiatic black bear. They sleep in self-made tree nests, large root cavities, or on ground beds.
Threats: habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict
The Zoo is addressing the threats that Andean bears face and protecting remaining wild populations – help us secure a future for Andean bears.
Andean bears are most comfortable in the trees. They even build their own sleeping hammocks out of foliage, which they can also feed from, since they are almost entirely herbivorous.
This bear is a good climber and uses its long muzzle to eat bromeliad 'hearts,' leaf stems of palm leaves, as well as figs and other fruit. It will also eat insects, carrion and occasionally kill a small animal or even something as big as a deer or guanaco. They sleep in self-made tree nests, large root cavities, or on ground beds. At sites of abundant food several bears can be seen feeding in close proximity with very little interaction between them.
Females reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years of age. They will mate during the months of April, May and June. A pair will stay together for a week or two, mating several times. The cubs will become independent in one year. A mother may carry the young on her back when they are still small.