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Spectacled bears

The Andean bear

South America´s only surviving bear species, the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), can be a true wildlife highlight during our riding tour or on one of our trips with friends and family after the ride. These Andean bears can reach up to 200kg (440 lbs) -smaller than black bears, but larger than bears found in Asia, such as the sun bear.

The name spectacled bear comes from the distinct markings on their chest and face that often form rings around their eyes, hence spectacles! Interestingly, each bear has a very distinct marking. However, these bears are also commonly referred to as Andean bears, or even Andean short-faced bears, or mountain bears.

Like most bears, they are omnivorous, but spectacled bears are heavily vegetarian with a diet containing only about 5% meat. We may see them up in the trees eating plentiful fruits or on the ground chewing on the immense diversity of plants found along the forest floor in Ecuador.

These sturdy bears can be found high in the mountains during much of the year, but they do tend to venture down into montane cloud forests when fruit is most plentiful. Our expert guides will know where to find them depending on the season.

In terms of conservation, they are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, where the main threat to them is habitat loss. Despite this, conservation efforts are in place to preserve more land and help protect these incredible animals.

Are these bears on your wildlife bucket list? Contact us to talk about which rides have the highest chance of a sighting!

At Ride Andes we pride ourselves on our incredible riding tours but we also offer a huge range of alternative activities in our riding areas and all through the amazingly diverse vegetational zones of Ecuador. We can plan all your trip extensions and encourage you to bring your “non-rider” friends and family along. While you ride to your hearts content, we can set ‘non-riders’ up with all sorts of options, meeting up again each evening at the stunning lodges. After the ride, take a road trip together with another of our expert guides. Contact us for more information.

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