An­dean bears


BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Travel Special -

You’ve read the books, loved the car­toon and seen the film – now dis­cover the real Padding­ton Bear for your­self.

Ex­cept it’s not easy. Though some bears – no­tably the north­ern trio of black, brown and po­lar – are a cinch for any self-re­spect­ing ur­sophile, An­dean or spec­ta­cled bears are elu­sive and in­creas­ingly rare. Most en­coun­ters, in ei­ther the hu­mid cloud forests or soggy páramo that are their favoured habi­tats, are purely by chance, but there’s one place in South Amer­ica where the odds are slightly higher.

It’s called Chaparrí, and it’s a com­mu­nity-owned re­serve in the dry forests of north­ern Peru. In fact, this is not typ­i­cal An­dean bear ter­ri­tory, but they are an adapt­able species that can be found ev­ery­where from sea level up to al­ti­tudes of over 4,500m. Even if you don’t see a bear, you are un­likely to leave dis­ap­pointed – the Tumbe­sian re­gion is renowned for its bird life, and 39 of its 65 en­demic species can be seen at Chaparrí. But if you do want your Padding­ton mo­ment, don’t for­get the mar­malade.

Chaparrí Re­serve

The dry forests and moun­tains of the Chaparrí Re­serve make a spec­tac­u­lar back­drop for bear en­coun­ters.

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