The program ‘Conservamos la Vida’ (in English, We Preserve Life), led by Fundación Grupo Argos, Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia and WCS Colombia, in its endeavor to protect the Andean bear, installed 9 camera traps inside Tatamá National Natural Park and registered 10 individuals. The images open a new window of hope for the stability and recovery of the populations of the species, affected by natural habitat loss.
Andean bears are bioindicators, meaning that the presence of the species in an ecosystem indicates its good conservation conditions. As seed dispersers, Andean bears help to renew the native flora of ecosystems such as paramos and Andean cloud forests, from where many rural aqueducts obtain their water to supply human communities.
With the actions of the ‘Conservamos la Vida’ program, a biological corridor has been reconnected with two thousand hectares of conservation, allowing bears to move, with less threats, among the Risaralda, Valle and Cauca Departments. The support of the rural communities has been crucial because many peasants have signed agreements to maintain and conserve habitat for Tremarctos ornatus, its scientific name.
The Andean bear is the only South American bear and the last living representative in the world of the short faced bears (Tremarctinae). In Colombia, it can be seen in 22 of its 59 National Protected Areas. Generally, each female has between two and four cubs. Males can reach up to 175 kilograms.