Spectacled Bear

Order:  CarnivoraSpectacled bear

Family:  Ursidae

Genus:  Tremarctos

Species:  Tremarctoc ornatus

Where Found

Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela

Other Names

Short-faced bear, Andean bear, Ucumari


Spectacled bears are small and dark, ranging in color from black to brown; some spectacled bears have a reddish tinge. They have distinctive circular or semicircular creamy white markings (spectacles) on the face around the eyes.


Male spectacled bears are much larger than female spectacled bears, giving local farmers the impression that they live with more than one species of bear. Male bears weigh from 120 to 340 pounds 54 to 154 kg); females weigh 60 to 180 pounds (27 to 82 kg). At birth, cubs weigh from 10 to 11 ounces (284 to 312 grams). Longevity can be 25 years or longer.


Females reach sexual maturity between four and seven years of age. Spectacled bears have a variable mating season, and litters range in size from one to three. Most cubs are born from November to February.

Social Life

Little is known of the social organization in the wild.


The preferred diet is leaves, bases and hearts of plants of the Bromeliaceae family, and the fruits of other plant groups. Spectacled bears will also predate on a wide variety of foods, including livestock, fish, and rodents.


Spectacled bears are highly adaptable, and inhabit a wide range of habitats including rainforest, cloud forest, dry forest, steppe lands, and coastal scrub desert. They live in a range of altitudes from 600 to 13,800 feet 182 to 4,206 meters), preferring cloud forests between 4,500 and 8,800 feet (1,372 to 2,682 meters), and high elevation grasslands at the upper edge of the forest. They are found mainly in or near forested mountains from Venezuela and Columbia south through Ecuador, Peru, and into Bolivia .

Wild Population

It is really difficult to collect data needed to estimate population size, but the current estimate is between 6,000-10,000.


Spectacled bears often construct tree nests, which they use as sleeping and feeding platforms. The spectacled bear is the second largest mammal and the largest carnivore in South America . It is the only bear found in South America . In captivity, females and cubs vocalize using two and five types of calls respectively.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock


Project Initiatives

Bear trust focuses on 4 primary project initiatives:

  1. Conservation Education
  2. Bear Research & Management
  3. Habitat Conservation
  4. Conservation Policy

Contact Info

PO Box 10850
Bozeman, MT 59719
Phone: (406) 523-7779