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Saving the Andean Bear, South America’s only bear species

In the diverse mountain habitats of the Andes Mountains, the Andean bear, also known as the spectacled bear because of the mask-like fur around its eyes, is the focus of multiple conservation efforts. Local governments and organizations are working to provide safer spaces for the bears in the face of habitat loss, as well as to better associate the bears with Machu Picchu, the famed 15th-century Incan city and tourist attraction.

In the video above, biologist Carmen Soto gives us a tour of the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and bear rescue center as she discusses the bears’ role in the Peruvian ecosystem. Arboreal and mostly-vegetarian, the Andean bear is the only bear native to South America, and was an inspiration for Paddington Bear.

Next: More Andean Bear videos, including these curious cubs.

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