Tremarctos – Spectacled bear

South America’s only native bear species, living in the Andes mountains

They are named for the white/yellow rings around their eyes, resembling eyeglasses. Yes, not all individuals have these ‘spectacles’!

They are also the last remaining of the short-faced bears’ subfamily. Their coats vary from dark brown to jet black and even a reddish hue. The markings across their face and upper chest are beige or ginger-colored, and the facial marking of each bear is unique.

They are currently listed as Vulnerable, and the primary threats are hunting, habitat loss, and degradation. They are hunted because the gall bladder has a very high value in traditional oriental medicine and can get to a high price tag on the market, approximately US$150 for one.