The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is the only bear species in South America and the only surviving species of the Tremarctos genus (short-snout bears). The Venezuelan Andes is the Northernmost limit of its distribution range. The Andean bear is an umbrella species, as conserving large forest areas is needed to ensure its population viability, and indirectly protecting many co-existing species cataloged as Endangered by the IUCN (>26 species in our area, several endemic). Andean bear populations are decreasing due to habitat fragmentation/destruction by expanding farming and hunting and because of myths about the bear as a predator and attributed magical/medicinal properties of its body parts.
La-Culata mountain range and El Tambor massif (Northwest Venezuelan Andes) harbor an important population of spectacled bears. Both areas are connected by a narrow forest strip of variable width (~1 km) and elevation (1500-2500 masl.), being the only biological corridor allowing seasonal displacements of bears between both areas as part of their life cycle. Lately, though legally protected, the corridor continuity is threatened by deforestation for cattle ranching. It is imperative to work coordinately with stakeholders to maintain the corridor functionality by a) sensitizing people to create a positive attitude towards the bear, through educative workshops with local communities and schools; b) reducing deforestation and restoring degraded lands to recover the corridor as a goal within the Forest Landscape Restoration Plan carried out by El Tambor Project; and c) monitor bears´ movements through the corridor with camera-traps.