Hope for threatened bear species

They are rare, endangered and difficult to study. The spectacled bear (also known as Andean bears) is the only bear species in the southern hemisphere, and to date very little has been known about the shy bear that is said to be the model for the fictional Paddington. Now a research team has collected new knowledge about the bear species during a five-month expedition to the Andes in Peru.

“The spectacled bear is incredibly important for the ecosystem; it is an effective seed spreader and is of great importance for the vegetation. I hope that our study can be an important contribution to the work of preserving the spectacled bears”, says Wilhelm Osterman.

In addition to obtaining valuable information about the animals’ behaviour and population, the researchers made a surprising discovery. Among the spectacled bears, whose fur is black or dark brown, an individual with light golden brown fur was observed. It was strikingly similar to the popular children’s book character Paddington Bear.

Photo: Michael Tweddle

Hope for threatened bear species