Saving threatened habitats worldwide

EOCA Vote 2016: Saving the Spectacled Bear

Spectacled Bear

Once a year in March, World Land Trust (WLT) champions a conservation project put forward by one their network of conservation partners. The project is featured in a poll by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), with the winner receiving a conservation grant of £25,000.

The Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is the focus of a conservation project entitled Saving Spectacled Bears, developed by Fundación Jocotoco, one of WLT’s four conservation partners in Ecuador. The Spectacled Bear is classified as globally Vulnerable and in Ecuador as locally Endangered by IUCN. The bear’s habitat is gradually disappearing, threatened by road building and fire, agriculture and the spread of human settlement.

The conservation of this charismatic species is at the heart of a project at Yanacocha Reserve where, 20 kilometres from Quito, highland paramó and polylepis forest provide ideal habitat for bears. These forests also protect other threatened species, including a Critically Endangered hummingbird, the Black-breasted Puffleg. 

You can help Jocotoco win these funds by voting for the Spectacled Bear in the EOCA poll from 1-15 March 2016.

VOTE FOR THE SPECTACLED BEAR

Funds needed

yanacocha

 Yanacocha reserve. ©Nigel Simpson.

To better protect Yanococha’s bears, Fundación Jocotoco needs funding to monitor bears at the Reserve, to put in place measures to protect bear habitat from fire and to develop an education and outreach campaign for visitors, schools and local communities.

Trail cameras

If the grant is awarded to Saving the Spectacled Bear, Jocotoco will use the funds to purchase 10 trail cameras to record bears in the reserve. Over time this will give an overall picture of bear distribution and size of populations in the Quito area.

Fire prevention

Fire is a constant threat to wildlife habitat and grant funds will be used to organise two fire prevention and mitigation workshops, one for Yanacocha staff and one for the local community. The grant will also cover the costs of installing water tanks in the reserve, as well as covering the cost of a wildlife ranger for a year.

Education & awareness

Jocotoco logo

Education and awareness are another key factor in the conservation of the Spectacled Bear. As part of the educational strand of the project, Fundación Jocotoco plans to replant with native vegetation an area of more than an acre (5,000 square metres) around the visitor centre to create an educational space for visitors to learn more about the bears and other threatened species at the reserve. Typical of the bear’s highland habitat, the plants will include species preferred by bears such as achupallas (highland bromeliads).

Interpretation boards within this area and along the trails at Yanacocha will raise awareness of the importance and the conservation of the Spectacled Bear, and provide opportunities for local people to get involved in the project. Fundación Jocotoco staff will also use the grant funding to work with local schools to raise awareness of conservation issues.

Yanacocha Reserve

Saving the Spectacled Bear, will focus on activities at Yanacocha, a reserve used by estimated 20- 25 Spectacled Bears.

Yanacocha Reserve is 20 kilometres north west of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The proposed conservation activities at Yanacocha are designed as part of “Quito Tierra de Osos” (Quito Land of Bears), a broader bear conservation programme taking place around the capital.

Yanacocha protects remnant patches of Polylepis pauta forest and a large area of paramó. These ecosystems provide key habitat for Spectacled Bears.

In 2015, ranger Silvio Calderon found himself closely observed by a Spectacled Bear in the hummingbird garden at Yanacocha. The incident happened so quickly that he didn’t have time to photograph it, but it was nonetheless an excellent record of the species.

Silvio’s post is funded by WLT’s Keepers of the Wild programme. Silvio will play an important role in the proposed project. 

Voting starts on 1 March 2016 and ends on 15 March 2016.

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