The Bears of Machu Picchu

January 27, 2017

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Photo Credit: © Ever Chuchullo

Machu Picchu - it's not just for people. Turns out that Peru's world-famous Incan ruins are an important habitat for Andean bears. A recent wildlife survey led by WCS and the Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado resulted in some amazing visual evidence.

The video above, provided by Peru's Ministry of Culture, documents an Andean bear in action among the ancient ruins.

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Photo Credit: © Ever Chuchullo

The year-long survey revealed the presence of Andean bears in more than 95 percent of the 368-square-kilometer study area, which includes the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the most visited places in South America.

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Photo Credit: © Ever Chuchullo

The Andean bear is sometimes called the spectacled bear due to yellowish or white patches that surround its eyes.

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Photo Credit: Diego Peréz/WCS Peru

A team of more than 30 trained researchers and park officials looked for signs of bears in a variety of habitats in the Machu Picchu protected area, ranging from Andean rainforest to montane grasslands.

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Photo Credit: Diego Peréz/WCS Peru

The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is classified as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and is one of only 35 sites worldwide listed as a mixed natural and cultural site.

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Photo Credit: Diego Peréz/WCS Peru

With a range stretching from Venezuela to Bolivia, the Andean bear inhabits the mist-shrouded montane forests and upland grasslands of the Andes Mountains and is South America's only native bear species.

The survey results will help inform the effective management of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, the most visited protected area in Peru.

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