Tourists Aren’t the Only Ones Who Love Machu Picchu. Rare Andean Bears Do, Too.

Machu Picchu might be a culturally and historically valuable site that’s a popular destination for tourists, but researchers have found it’s also home to many rare Andean bears.

Andean bears, who are also known as spectacled bears because of coloring around their eyes, are the only bear species native to South America, who can be found in the Andes mountain range from Venezuela to Bolivia.
unspecified-24Credit: Ever Chuchullo/WCS

They are currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, just one step away from Endangered. Like other wildlife, they are being increasingly threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, particularly for agricultural use, hunting, poaching for the illegal wildlife trade and being killed in retaliation for causing damage.

unspecified-25Credit: Ever Chuchullo/WCS

Now a recent survey has confirmed that a popular and historic site in Peru is providing vital habitat for them.

A team of researchers and park officials conducting a year-long survey, which was led by the Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado (SERNANP) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, found the presence of Andean bears in more than 95 percent of the 368-square-kilometer study area, which includes the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu – now one of the most visited places in South America.

unspecified-27Credit: Diego Peréz/WCS Peru

“It is amazing that this world famous location is also important habitat for Andean bears,” said Dr. Isaac Goldstein, Coordinator of WCS’s Andean Bear Program. “The results of the survey will help us to understand the needs of this species and how to manage Andean bears in this location.”

unspecified-26Credit: Diego Peréz/WCS Peru

According to WCS, these bears aren’t just an isolated population, but are part of a much larger population that is connected by high-elevation grasslands. It’s hoped that by developing a better understanding of how they’re connected, those corridors will be protected to ensure they can reach each other.

unspecified-28Credit: Diego Peréz/WCS Peru

It’s also hoped that more knowledge about these bears will help lead to management practices that will ensure their survival within the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in addition to other areas where they’re found.

Photo credit: Ever Chuchullo/WCS

86 comments

Siyus C
Siyus Copetallus5 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T9 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Georgina E M
Georgina M9 months ago

interesting, maybe living on a " Protected site "may keep these wicked hunters from killing them.....as always

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Telica R
Telica R9 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran9 months ago

noted

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Nang Hai C
Nang Hai C9 months ago

Thanks

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Nang Hai C
Nang Hai C9 months ago

Thanks

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Isa J
Isa J9 months ago

I didn t know ! TY

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Terri S
Terri S9 months ago

Thank you for protecting these beautiful bears!!!! I love seeing people who are compassionate about helping wildlife!!!

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