The Andean bear (or Tremarctos Ornatus) is one of the eight bear species that exist all over the world and only lives in the
Andean-Amazonian region in South America.
Despite being considered an endangered species, a large quantity of Andean bears live in Peru, at the Valley of Mandor, close to Machu Picchu’s Sanctuary.
The indigenous oral tradition describes the bears’ adventures and even narrates that they kidnapped women in order to live with them. Due to their body features, similar to the ones in the biggest primates, the Andean bear has been included in myths and Amazonian legends as if he was “a hairy man who lives in the woods”.
In Peru, the Andean bear lives in diverse ecosystems located around the 500 meters above sea level range, where he goes down temporarily when food gets scarce; and the 4,500 meters above sea level range, where he is rarely observed, as he prefers to live in the humid and foggy forests located at the “Selva Alta” and “Páramo” eco-regions.
Nowadays, some researchers consider that there are no more than 18,000 Andean bears in a wild state all over the Andean mountain range, which has a length of 7,000 km, and that’s why its population density it’s really low.
The Andean bear is a lonely animal, with both daily and nocturnal routines, but mainly terrestrial, although it shows some arboreal habits like fetching fruits and berries at the top of the trees. To achieve it, the Andean bear builds up nested platforms at the trees’ branches, which act as a support during the moment of food gathering, and as a resting and eating place at the same time.
There are many ways to meet the Andean bear. One of them is joining the trekking offered by the Sumaq Hotel Machu Picchu. The Hike to the Valley of Mancor is surrounded by incredible wildlife and flora and it’s the Andean bear’s natural home.
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