Species Facts: Spectacled Bear

image by Ricardo Kuehn

Common names: Spectacled Bear, Andean Bear, ukuko, jukumari, ucumari

Scientific name: Tremarctos ornatus

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Population in the Wild: unknown, some reports say under 3000

Habitat: Cloud forest in the Andes in South America, in parts of Panama, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.

Behavior: arboreal, omnivore mostly vegetarian, mostly nocturnal

Closest Relatives: Panda Bear

Interesting fact(s):

-Spectacled bears’ face, neck, and chest markings are, like human fingerprints, unique to each bear

-The only bear from South America

Threats:

-habitat loss due mining, farming and logging

Conservation Organizations:

Spectacled Bear Conservation

Andean Bear Project

WWF

Wildlife Protection Foundation

Species Facts: Red Panda

Common names: Red Panda, Lesser Panda, Panda, Firefox, Firecat

Scientific name: Ailurus fulgens

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Population in the Wild: difficult to determine between 2500 to 20,000

Habitat:  Temperate forest in the Himalayas in Western Nepal, West China, Norther India, Bhutan and Northern Myanmar

Behavior: Crepuscular, omnivorous, arboreal

Closest Relatives: distantly related to raccoons, skunks, badgers

Interesting fact(s):

-Red Pandas were first classified as bears, then raccoons, but are now classified as their own family.

-The Giant Panda actually got its name from the Red Panda when it was thought they were from the same family.

-It is believed that Panda comes from the Nepali word poonya meaning bamboo eater.

Threats:

-habitat loss

-habitat fragmentation

-poaching

-inbreeding (due to habitat fragmentation)

Conservation Organizations:

Red Panda Network

WWF - Nepal

Species Facts: Panda

Common names: Giant Panda, Panda

Scientific name: Ailuropoda melanoleuca

Conservation status: Endangered

Population in the Wild: aprox. 1500 - 3000

Habitat: Mountain ranges in central China

Behavior: terrestrial, herbivore

Closest Relatives: Spectacled Bear

Interesting fact(s):

-The panda has characteristics similar to a raccoons and bears so it took decades to come to a consensus on taxidermic classification.  After DNA studies it was determined that the panda was part of the bear family.

-Pandas have pupils with vertical slits like a cat, all other bears have round pupils

-Pandas have been called by many names in the past including mottled bear, particolored bear, spotted bear, cat bear, bamboo bear, bear cat, large bear cat

Threats:

-habitat loss

-low birthrate

Conservation Organizations:

Pandas International

WWF