The Andean bear of South America is also known as the spectacled bear for the rings of white or light fur around its eyes, which can look like spectacles against the rest of the bear’s dark fur. These markings often extend down the chest, giving each bear a unique appearance and helping researchers identify each bear by its "mug shot"! The markings also give the bear its scientific name: Tremarctos ornatus or decorated bear.
Andean bears are thought to use vocal communication more than any other bear except the giant panda. They make unique vocalizations that are quite "un-bear-like": a shrill screech and a soft, purring sound.
We work with the Spectacled Bear Conservation Society in Peru, and together we’re making incredible discoveries about bear biology. For example, we now believe the bear population in northwest Peru depends on the fruit of the sapote, a critically endangered tree in Peru.