The Andean Bear Interpretation Centre
22nd April 2022
Barker Langham is incredibly proud to be supporting Peruvian NGO Amazon Conservation to develop the Andean Bear Interpretation Centre in the hearth of the Amazon. For Earth Day, we asked Ruth Pillco Huarcaya, a Peruvian biologist, leading the Andean bear conservation project to share some insights about the new centre:
𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗻 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗮𝗻 𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿?
‘Because of the peril this species is in. The Andean Bear is an important cultural icon for many communities in Southern Peru and throughout the Andes and a keystone species in the cloud forest ecosystem, but threats like hunting and habitat loss mean that this species is currently listed as endangered.’
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴?
‘We want to bring in groups, such as classes from the local schools, to learn about the Andean Bear and the cloud forest and puna ecosystems and why they are so important to conserve. We also want to train people from the communities to act as guides for the centre and for the surrounding trails. We believe this will give more people a personal stake in protecting the cloud forest for a more sustainable future.’
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘂𝗻𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱/𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗮𝗻 𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗵𝗶𝗯𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻?
‘One misconception people often have about the Andean Bear is that they believe it to be a pure carnivore.While Andean Bears do eat meat, their diet is about 95% plant matter. This means that they are likely to play a very important role in the seed dispersal of many cloud forest plants. The name for the Andean Bear in Quechua is the ‘Ukuku’, which is also the name of a trickster demigod in Andean culture. Believed to be the son of a human woman and an Andean Bear, the Ukuku is the protector of water as it flows from high altitude glaciers through the cloud forest and into the Amazon.’