Andean Bears Jump fromTreetops Armando Castellanos Andean Bear Project Director Fundación Espíritu del Bosque Barcelona 311 y Tolosa Quito -Ecuador Telfs: (593-2) 2 239 703 / (593-2) 2 683 647 Fax: (593-2) 2 504 452 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.andeanbear.org
"...As time passed by, the bears gradually realized that they couldn’t escape us, and as a result they began to bend and break branches, quickly accumulating vegetation to build platforms high in the tree. The platforms were apparently made in an attempt to hide from the sight of the humans below. Perhaps intend ing to scare us, the bears broke and noisily th rew down moderately big branches from the treetop. When they could not elude us ,each bear (individually)went to the extreme end of a branch and bit it to break it. They then swung on and balanced on the branch so that t heir weight helped the branch break and fell one by one to the ground. In the first encounter o ne bear fell approx imately 7 meters into a large quantity of suro, a bamboo-like plant. The suroappeared to act as a cushion and break the bears’fall. On the second occasion two bears fell directly to the ground, with onebear f alling from about 8 meters and the other from 10 meters. In each case, on ce on the ground, eachbear rapidly ran off without showing any of lesions or fractures. Anecdotal evidence from farmers and hunters indicates that bears larger than those we observed have jumped from trees 15 to 20 meters above ground , although these bears did not prepare for the jump in the manner described above . Local farmers and hunters have reported that comparatively larger and heavier bears that the ones we saw, when threatened whilst in a tree, also fall from great heights to escape dangers. However, in these cases of more imminent danger involving gunshots, the bears prepare their dismount in a different way to the one I have described above. In these cases, it is reported that the bears simply jumped from heights between 15 and 20 meters, without showing the branch -breaking behavior that we have witnessed. I am not sure whether other bear species display the same type of escape behavior as the one displayed by the Andean bear. However, it appears to me that no animal of such weight should be able to jump from such heights without injury. It would be very interesting to know why the Andean bear a pparently doesn’t injure itself when jumping from such heights."
Reports of Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus ) attacks on bovine livestock in Ecuador Armando Castellanos Fundación Espíritu del Bosque Andean Bear Foundation e- mail:email@example.com Barcelona 311 y Tolosa Quito -Ecuador The Spanish chronicler Antonio Herrera y Tordesillas reported the first attacks by Andean Bears ( Tremarctos ornatus ) on livestock in South America in the middle of the 16th Century. Similarly, Juan de Velasco narrated accounts of bear hunting during the 18th Century but did not offer an explanation for the practice. In the 19th and 20th Century, the Andean Bear was accused of attacking livestock in its distribution zone and, as a result, was hunted. Petroleum exploration in Ecuadorbegan during the 1970’s, and was soon followed by the expansion of farming and cattle ranching into previously undeveloped areas . This expansion , combined with the reduction in habitat , led to an increase in human –bear conflict s. In 1995, a juvenile male bear reintroduced into the Maquipucuna Reserve (Pichincha Province ) was confirmed to have attacked and killed three calves. This was the first confirmed attack of livestock by an Andean Bear. This situation wasresolved by relocating the bear to a more remote area. In 1999 reports aroseof livestock attacks in the valleys of the Cosanga and Oyacachi Rivers . These rivers are located in the foothills of the north eastern Cordillera, Ecuador. Between April 2000 and 2001, thirty-oneattacks o nlivestock were attributed to Andean Bears in the valley of the Cosanga River (Napo Province). Twenty -six of these attacks were fataland four led to long - term injury. One of the seattacks was later shown to have been incorrectly attributed to bear s . In response to this“problem”, local cattle farmers were reported to have killed eleven bears ( seven of these bears were shot and four were poisoned(none of these cases were confirmed by the author)) . Twenty -five attacks were registered in the same area between May 2001 and March 2002 . These left fifteen cows, one bull, three young bulls and three calves dead whilst two cows and one calf were injured. Three bears were implicated in these attacks and subsequently killed. However, only one of these bears was the actual predator. In early 2003, five attacks on calves were confirmed in the páramos (high grasslands) of Julio Andrade (Carchi Province), whilst in Mazar( Azuay Province), sixcows were attacked and eaten. Not all Andean Bears attack livestock. It is not known at present why some bears attack livestock and others do not. Various methods to decrease and prevent human- bear conflict exist. As such, the current management strategy of hunting and killing Andean Bears as a response to livestock attacks must be carefully analysed as “innocent ”bears have been killed in some areas to eliminate the “bear problem”. www.andeanbear.org/papers/english/reports-of-andean-bear-attacks-on-bovine-livestock-en.pdf
ATTACKS BY ANDEAN BEARS ON LIVESTOCK IN THE COSANGA RIVER WATERSHED, ECUADOR By: Armando X. Castellanos P. Fundación Espíritu del Bosque Reina Victoria 17 - 37 y La Pinta / Quito - Ecuador Tel: (593-9) 936 01 29 Fax: (593-2) 250 44 52 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Until 3 years ago there were no confirmed reports of Andean Bears attacking livestock in Ecuador. Since then, accusations of bears preying on cows have increased, especially in the Cosanga River Watershed, on the slopes of the northeastern mountain range of the Napo Province, which occupies an surface area of approximately 22,289 hectares and has mountainous terrain with a range of altitudes from 1,000m to the 3,600 m. Because the attacks were most intense in the Cosanga River area, the Corporation Jatun-Sacha/CDC,a conservation NGO that works in the region, asked me in May of 2001 to verify and record the bear attacks on livestock, and to look for management alternatives to diminish human-bear conflicts. I suggested initially that the "problembears" should be caught and tagged with a radio collar to find, by means of monitoring, the ecological reasons the bear was attacking livestock. Sadly, lack of resources for capture and pursuit didn't allow that idea to come to fruition. Instead I used indirectmethods to study the bear(s), such as recording tracks, marks on trees, and following trails. In the event of each attack I gathered hair and feces of the "killer bear",so-called by local farmers, to determine if it was one bear or several thatwere attacking livestock in Cosanga, by means of molecular genetic analysis carried out by Dr. Manuel Ruíz-García. Although the genetic results were not yet ready I sensed, based on tracking, records, and the testimonies of affected farmers, that it was a single bear, perhaps male, that attacked in the region. Most reported events happened in a hollow known as Oritoyacu. Here the bear built tree nests before beginning to hunt, from which it watched the herd and made sure there were no caretakers nearby. It generally attacked cows that were alone and pastured very close to the forest. On other occasions it crossed the pastures until arriving at its prey. The bear sometimes pursued the herd to make it turn, then caught a cow, which it devoured alive, not caring if it was asleep or standing up. The bites and scratches generally began between the shoulders. The dead oragonized cow was then dragged for more than 80 m, sometimes uphill, towardthe foot of the tree nest, generally located inside the forest. There the bearfinished devouring the cow in several visits. On some occasions the viscera must have been consumed in the high part of the tree nests, because cow feces were found in such nests. In Cosanga there have been 25 confirmed attacks on livestock so far, in which 15 cows, a bull, three male calves and three female calves died; two cows and a calf were wounded. The death of four cowswas reported in a single incident. Additionally the remains of a young horse and a danta,or tapir, (Tapirus pinchaque) which had been eaten by a bear were found. In these cases I could not confirm whether they had been killed by the bear. In December of 2001, a woman was pursuedby a bear when she tried to frighten it when it began to eat one of her cows alive. In January of 2002, a farmer was also pursued when he tried to drive awaya couple of bears that were eating a dead cow. In both cases, it seems thatthe bear was defending its prey in the presence of intruders. Since the problem of the attacks appeared in Cosanga, the "killer bear" survived several of the farmers´ attempts to kill it. Several times it was shot and fed poisoned animals. Since the farmers could not destroy it quickly, they believed this animal was enveloped in a mystic and enigmatic atmosphere. To prevent the bear being murdered, the only option was to remove it from the area. To that end I arrived at an agreement with the farmers of the region and I made contacts with international zoos to trade the bear for GPS collars and input devices, which would be used to begin behavioral studies on the bears of the region. These arrangements had the approval of the Ministry of the Environment. In March of the present year the "killer bear" ran out of luck when it was killed in a place at which it arrived for the first time, having left its usual hunting grounds. Indeed, the ¨killer bear¨ was an 118kg male with a thin buildfor his size, according to local informants. Since then there have been no more attacks on livestock reported, but has the problem definitively been resolved? Since my arrival in Cosanga the deaths of two Andean bears thatwere involved in attacks have been confirmed. Incredibly, none of the identified bear hunters has been punished. Only deep ecological investigations will provide data demonstrating the reason bears attack livestock.I think that it is not abnormal behavior for this species. Perhaps the lack offood in the forest to satisfy metabolic needs and the offer of live prey in pastures causes to the bear to become a predator of livestock, because it is easier to attack a dull, heavy cow than a speedy deer or tapir. www.andeanbear.org/papers/english/attacks-by-andean-bears-on-livestock-in-cosanga-river-en.pdf
BEARTREK Peru, (c) Chris Morgan – 11 Then it happened – I can’t describe how rare it is to see one of these bears in the wild – I searched for many months over many years for Andean bears in Ecuador in the early 90’s but was not successful. Here, the research team in Peru made it all possible – this is Laura, one of the project’s most well-known bears – she climbed down the almost vertical mountain right in front of us and peeled snails from the under hanging cliffs with incredible dexterity.