The Andean Bear, Tremarctos ornatus, is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The only bear species in South America, it occurs in the Andes Mountains, from western Venezuela to southern Bolivia, occupying habitats from desert-scrub to forests to high altitude grasslands. Most individuals have white, spectacle-like markings around the eyes, giving rise to the alternative name ‘Spectacled Bear’.
The main threat to the Andean Bear is from habitat loss, due to expansion of agriculture, grazing, mining, oil exploration, and road development. With diminishing and more fragmented habitat, Andean bears increasingly raid crops and kill livestock, resulting in more retaliatory killing and illegal hunting.
The Andean Bear occurs in a number of protected areas, but many do not provide adequate protection or are too small and isolated to support viable bear populations. Although it is protected by national laws in all five range states, and through listing on Appendix I of CITES, stricter enforcement is needed. Further research is needed to better manage human-bear conflict.