El Oso Andino

The Andean Bear, also commonly known as Anteojos de Oso, is the last living species in the subfamily of short-nosed bears. It is the smallest member of the Ursidae family and the only bear found in South America, ranging from Bolivia in the west to Venezuela in the south. It is characterized by its distinctive brown or cream marks around its eyes.


They explore a range of environments, such as tropical rainforests, cloud forests, and dry forests, but their main habitat is mountainous terrain at elevations reaching 14,000 feet above sea level [2]. They search for agricultural land in various areas, including coastal deserts and wet grasslands, and are known to occasionally venture into lowlands.

Behavior and Diet

Bears frequently come into conflict with humans, resulting in occasional consumption of livestock and domestic crops when they come across agricultural areas. They are the biggest predators in South America, occasionally adding small rodents, birds, and insects to their diet. One of their preferred food sources is bromeliads, a juicy flower! They are primarily herbivorous, feeding on fruits and flowers.

[3] Los osos andinos, aunque son principalmente nocturnos o diurnos mixtos, están activos durante el día todo el año porque no hibernan. A diferencia de otros osos, no usan sitios como alimentación o descanso, sino que construyen plataformas de árboles hechas de palos y ramas para ese propósito. Aunque pueden congregarse alrededor de fuentes de alimentos, los osos andinos son generalmente solitarios y tímidos.


The farmers who perceive bears as a threat also kill them if they see them as a threat to their livestock or crops. Additionally, bears are also threatened by illegal hunting, where they are hunted for specific body parts such as their paws and gallbladders, or sometimes even for their meat, which is highly valued in traditional Asian medicine. The fragmentation of their habitat and deforestation pose the most significant threat to the Andean Bear. The Andean Bear is classified as “vulnerable” and is at risk of extinction.

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In 2030, the Andean Bear could potentially be included in the endangered species list, as suggested by a study that found an increasing human population density in the bear’s range, leading to habitat loss. This study highlights the importance of the bear’s access to well-connected foraging areas, as it is an animal that relies on a variety of food sources and habitat types. The construction of roads and other infrastructure has significantly reduced the size and number of viable habitats. Additionally, the continuous development of mining and oil extraction operations in the Amazon severely impacts the long-term survival probabilities of the Andean Bear.

Ecological importance

In vegetal communities, the prey, many of which are herbivores, are affected by the presence (or absence) of Andean bears, resulting in a cascade effect on the ecological community structure. Andean bears regulate the prey population size as they act as seed dispersers, especially for laurel trees. They help establish seedlings throughout their range by consuming and passing the seeds intact through their digestive system as they roam. The feeding behavior of the Andean bear is a key ecological component in the Amazonian Andes and adjacent ecosystems.

Ayude a preservar el entorno del oso andino.

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