FaunaFocus

Monthly Archives: August 2018

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Spectacled bear cubs are born blind and are completely dependent on their mother for their first month but will remain with her for up to a year.

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Spectacled bears can be persecuted and shot by local farmers who blame them for killing cattle and destroying maize crops.

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Adult spectacled bears have no predators, but cubs may be preyed on by mountain lions, jaguars, and occasionally by adult male spectacled bears.

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The average lifespan of a wild spectacled bear is 20 years, but captive bears can live up to 25 years, the longest living 36 years, 8 months.

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Spectacled bears rival the polar bear for the most sexually dimorphic modern bear as males are up to 50% larger than females and can twice their weight.

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There is no known paternal involvement in the rearing of spectacled bear cubs; in fact, males may eat any cubs they come across.

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Because spectacled bears are shy, peaceful, and elusive and avoid contact with humans by climbing the tallest of trees, no one knows exactly how many remain in the wild.

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The spectacled bear is believed to be mostly diurnal and does not hibernate, but there is disagreement over its activity pattern.

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A spectacled bear’s litter can range from 1-4 cubs and is positively correlated with the female’s weight and the abundance and variety of food sources.

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Relative to body size, spectacled bears have the largest zygomaticomandibularis muscle of any bear species, an adaptation for their primarily herbivorous diet.

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Habitat loss plays a role in the decline of spectacled bears as 30% of their habitat has been lost since 1990 and 3-6% more is lost each year.

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Depending on the season, spectacled bears travel between habitats such as dense cloud forests, paramos, scrub deserts, and high-altitude grasslands, but prefer humid montane forests because of the abundance of food.

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Spectacled bears are polygynous and breed at various times throughout the year, potentially capable of delayed implantation with a variation in gestation time from 160-255 days.

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Spectacled bears possess great religious and cultural value to the native people whom share their range.

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Because of their excellent climbing skills, spectacled bears spend a fair amount of time in trees and create “nests” in the understory for foraging and sleeping.

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Spectacled bears are hunted illegally for medicinal or ritual purposes as their meat, skin, fat, claws, and gallbladder are prized locally and internationally.

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No two spectacled bears have the same light markings on the face, allowing individuals to be easily identified from each other.

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Spectacled bears are stocky, medium-sized bears with small, round ears; a thick, short neck; a stout muzzle; and medium-long black fur, but reddish-brown individuals have been observed.

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There are seasonal- and sex-based differences in the home ranges of spectacled bears as their ranges are larger in the wet season and males keep bigger ranges than females.

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Spectacled bears are mainly herbivorous folivores and frugivores, but are technically omnivores with 5% of their diet composed of meat.

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The spectacled bear is listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and has a high risk of going extinct in the next 30 years.

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Spectacled bears are the second most herbivorous bear species, after giant pandas, and have a strong preference for bromeliads and fruits.

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Like all bears, spectacled bears have a plantigrade stance with longer front limbs than hind limbs that give them excellent climbing abilities.

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Spectacled bears are adaptable and can inhabit a wide variety of altitudes from as low as 250m to as high as the mountain snow line at over 5,000m.

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Spectacled bears are 1 of 4 extant bear species that are habitually arboreal, alongside the American black bear, Asian black bear, and the sun bear.

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Spectacled bears are non-territorial, solitary animals, except when a female is with cubs, but can gather in areas where food is abundant.

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Spectacled bears are named for the varied, light face markings that encircle the eyes and extend down the chest.

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Spectacled bears are the largest land carnivore and second largest terrestrial mammal in South America, after the lowland tapir.

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The spectacled bear, or Andean short-faced bear, is the last remaining short-faced bear and has a relatively short snout compared to other bear species.

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The spectacled bear’s scientific name, Tremarctos orantus translates to “hole-bear decorated,” referring to an unusual hole on the bear’s humerus and the ornate decorations on its face.

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Olfaction is the dominant form of communication for spectacled bears.

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The spectacled bear’s role in the ecosystem remains largely unstudied, but it plays a role in seed dispersal because of its largely herbivorous diet.