Ecuador, South America
Rainforest Concern

We’re very excited to be supporting Rainforest Concern in this project in which they’re looking at the factors affecting the decline of Andean bears in the Neblina Reserve in Ecuador.

Andean, or ‘spectacled’ bears are a really special bear species being South America’s only bear species, but unfortunately they are under severe threat and their numbers continue to decline. Over 30% of bear habitat is now too small to maintain populations and threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation due to logging, agriculture and mining mean that 30% of their habitat is due to be lost in the near future. On top of this, due to climate change an estimated further 30% of all ecosystems the bears inhabit are also projected to be lost in the next 20 years.

The populations that are managing to find habitat are under threat from illegal killing, predominately by farmers trying to prevent damage to crops and livestock but also by those seeking the believed ‘medicinal’ benefits of bear parts.

Who's Involved
Rainforest Concern
Profits from our shop have been used for this project
A NatureSpy Supported Project
Why are Andean Bears so important?
Andean bears are known as a 'key stone species'.

This means that the bears are crucial in many aspects of ecosystem biodiversity in South America, most notably due to their ecological roles as seed dispersers and for watershed maintenance. Local people, wildlife and habitat are dependant on the bears playing their part in the ecosystem which makes the conservation of these bears so important.
Find out more about the Neblina Reserve

Project Aims
Project Strategy
Why did Rainforest Concern Need Help?
How NatureSpy is Helping
  • Gain a greater understanding of the factors affecting the decline of Andean bears around the Neblina Reserve and to determine the best measures to mitigate them.
  • Aim to reduce human/bear conflict through engagement with local communities.
  • To use remote sensing to assess numbers of bears in the reserve, as well as their behaviours and key pathways.
  • Train the reserve’s forest guards to install the camera traps, and improve their skills in identifying and monitoring wildlife.
  • Changing attitudes to bears is key in preventing killings, so Rainforest Concern will be working with a local environmental organisation who will host workshops for nearby communities to raise awareness of the importance of protecting wildlife and the forest, to reduce risks of human-bear conflict.
  • Rainforest Concern had 3 main issues when it came to camera trapping the Andean bears... The first was the cameras were being trashed by bears...!
  • The second was that the camera models used weren't withstanding the rainy seasons.
  • The third was that they also didn't have enough cameras for their surveys.
  • To help Rainforest Concern resolve these issues we've done a number of things: 1) More than tripled the amount of camera traps they now have available.
  • 2) Provided camera models that we know can withstand the climate they are in.
  • 3) Supplied solutions to prevent bears and wildlife damaging the equipment.
Camera Used
The Browning Recon Force Advantage was used due to its ability to withstand the weather extremes of the rainforest and take great quality images.
Take a Closer Look
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