October 4, 2016 - Animal Defenders International (ADI) is launching an urgent campaign on World Animal Day calling the South American authorities to enforce the national and international laws protecting the endangered Spectacled or ‘Andean’ bear, after wildlife officials found a severed bear claw at a Colombian National Park headquarters, alongside an anonymous note threatening further bear killings.
The small bear, immortalized in Michael Bond’s much-loved Paddington Bear books, the only species of bear in South America, is a CITES Appendix I listed species, the highest level of protection. However, local wildlife campaigners are calling for stricter enforcement following a series of recent attacks on bears, and blame dwindling numbers of bear populations on human expansion, with Colombian farmers attacking the bears in an attempt to protect their livestock.
ADI President Jan Creamer said: “If nothing is done to protect the Spectacled bear, it is likely that populations will decline by more than 30% within a 30 year window. It would be tragic if we become the generation who allow South America’s only species of bear to die out. Head to the ADI website to see a new video of Spectacled bear Cholita, rescued by ADI, in her new home.”
Habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and the lack of knowledge about the distribution and status of the Spectacled bear are the principal threats to this species. Much of the range of the Spectacled bear has been jeopardized by humans, largely resulting from the expansion of farming.
ADI proposes to create a pact between authorities and social sectors to ensure the implementation of existing rules to protect Spectacled bear populations. This initiative was born in Colombia with the intention to expand into other South American countries with the presence of this species of bear.
Robinson Tarazona Galindo, Director of the National Park Chingaza said: “It is important to achieve national coordination to implement regional work plans and that this benefit populations to mitigate the impact of conflicts between people and wildlife".
The position of this environmental official in Colombia shows that the problem is not the lack of laws, but their enforcement. In this sense the proposed pact by ADI is essential that it is signed by the environmental authorities, armed forces and local community, among others.
Actress and presenter, Margarita Ortega said: "We are invading the habitats of wildlife, this leads to the extinction of various species. As humans we must find a way to live peacefully with the other residents of this country, it is urgent to end the unjustified persecution to the spectacled bear."
Earlier this year, ADI’s ‘Operation Spirit of Freedom’ campaign rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys, and others. ADI and the governments of Peru and Colombia collaborated for the unprecedented operation. Rescued animals were rehabilitated and rehomed to natural habitats.
Among the 100 rescued animals was Cholita, a 25 year old Spectacled bear, who was torn from the wild as a baby and mutilated and abused in a circus. She lost almost all of her hair due to stress. ADI rehabilitated her at their rescue center and thanks to a very successful campaign, Cholita now lives in a large habitat funded by ADI supporters at Taricaya Reserva Ecologica, in the Amazon Cloud Forrest. Cholita was then joined by two other Spectacled bears, Lucho and Sabina, and ADI hopes another can join them.
ADI is now appealing for funds for the rescue and lifetime care of another Spectacled bear, 11 year old female Dominga, who, like Cholita, has lost her fur due to stress. Dominga currently resides in a small zoo in the Andean mountains. The zoo are prepared to give Dominga over but ADI cannot rescue her until they raise transport funds estimated at ,500. Please donate now https://www.secure.adi-navs-ldf.org/donate.asp?id=1899&cachefixer