Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in Colombia, the tourism industry in Colombia has increased its numbers.
The air of tranquility within the country has allowed domestic and foreign travelers to access areas that were previously impossible to enter due to violent outbreaks.
Although this situation is positive for the tourism industry, it has become a latent threat to the survival of some species that are in danger of extinction, including the Spectacled Bear.
Ukumarí or Andean Bear
The Spectacled Bear, or Andean Bear, is one of the species that is cruelly threatened by the passage of man through territories that are not being sufficiently protected, even though its natural wealth suggests so.
During the course of 2017, 3 bears have been discharged and so far no one responds for these facts.
There are several hypotheses such as fortuitous hunters, who kill bears out of fear; but another version and even more worrying is that they are organized peasants who try to scare off the mammals from their farms and thus prevent them from using their animals as food, as suggested by Congresswoman Paloma Valencia, who in a statement threatened the authorities environmental, that if the bears were not removed from certain territories they would be killed by inhabitants of these areas.
The environmental authorities have already issued an alert, but no measure is known yet despite the fact that in Colombia there are laws on animal abuse.
It is known that there is a considerable increase in the flow of tourists in protected and hard-to-reach areas. For example in the moors, which house the few bears glasses that we have left in the country.
According to figures in Colombia there are only 1000 spectacled bears, but it is known that protected areas are home to at least 50 of these.
If these murders continue, the Andean Bear probably ceases to exist and is just another picture of the natural history of the planet.
Actions to preserve the spectacled bear
First of all we must inform ourselves about them:
The Ukumarí (spectacled bear), inhabits the Andes Mountains. It has been seen in Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. It measures approximately 1.80 meters and its weight is around 140 kilograms. It is also known to have a powerful jaw and sharp claws that they use to climb trees.
Their habitat is the humid forests located in different thermal floors that go from 800 masl to 3000 masl. But it can rise to 4700 meters above sea level and even go down to desert areas and feed on cacti. It is known that it performs ecological functions as a pollinator, seed disperser and even as a predator.
The spectacled bears are lonely, only during mating season (April to June) they keep a couple of weeks with their female. It is also known that they prefer daytime activity especially at dawn. Females have two to three puppies that remain with them until 8 months.
But perhaps the most worrisome aspect for man is his diet. They are an omnivore species but prefer the vegetable diet: fruits, berries, mushrooms and even barks. However, they eat eggs, honey, reptiles and even small mammals; In some cases it has been known that they feed on sheep, goats and cattle.
Invasion of their habitat
Humans have been invading their home, building settlements in areas that were once their roads, we have cut down the trees where they climbed and little by little we have relegated them to the high mountains, when their home was the entire Andes Mountains.
“Por tanto no son ellos la amenaza sino nosotros la de ellos”
For this reason, environmental authorities must take urgent measures.
Upon entering its spaces, the bear is likely to become aggressive, although no attacks on any human have been recorded so far.
We are in the year of Sustainable Tourism, therefore in Colombia we must focus on developing tourism programs that do not negatively impact the environment.
It is vital that territorial entities and the tourism industry come together to raise awareness among national and foreign visitors.
The preservation of the territories, communities and species that inhabit it depends on good eco-tourism practice and therefore a planet with a friendlier future for all of us who live within it.