Bears Of The World

There are eight living species of bears: Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus), Polar Bear (Ursus mari-timus), American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Sun Bear (Ursus malayanus), six of which are listed as either endangered or vulnerable by the IUCN.

Four out of the eight species of bears in the world, live in Tropical and Subtropical forests. These are the Andean Bear, Asiatic Black Bear, Sun Bear and Sloth bear. These four species are the least known and the most endangered according to the UICN Red List for Endangered Species.

The Andean Bear Corridor Project

The Andean bear corridor project had its beginnings in 2008 when ecologist Santiago Molina and others observed 9 bears feeding on a fruit in the highest point of trees. These observations and feeding behavior was very unusual and not recorded before in the country. This event motivated Santiago to go back to school and obtained a master degree in tropical ecology with the thesis Population Dynamics and threats of the Andean bear in the northwest of the Metropolitan District of Quito.

In this thesis, the researcher recorded already 24 bears and propose the necessity to protect and create the corridor for the Andean bear. In 2012 the Secretary of the Environment of the Municipality of Quito, start supporting economically and politically the project. Since then, more than 60 bears have been recorded, living in an area with important remnant of pristine cloud forests and the presence of humans. The species has been declared emblematical mammal of Quito, the corridor has been created through municipal resolution protecting 65 thousand hectares and other organizations and universities are now supporting research related, to: estimation of population and density, genetics, human bear conflicts, feeding behavior, etc.

The general objective of the corridor is to protect, restore and connect habitat for the Andean bear, so the species can survive in the future, fulfilling its ecological roles of growth, reproduction and dispersion; at the same time promote sustainable activities among the local populations.