Location: Andean Region, Ecuador
Research: Use of Habitat, Activity Patterns and Home Range of the Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) in the Intag Region, North-Western Ecuador
|Obtaining direct information about habitat use, activities patterns and the home range of the wild Andean bear in its natural habitat must be given utmost priority in order to develop better conservation strategies for the species. Available knowledge is rudimentary due to the limitations of the investigations performed in the bear distribution range. To date, these investigations have been based mainly on indirect sampling methods. This project has succeeded in catching and radio collaring eight wild Andean bears. Preliminary results show that the females have small and established home ranges compared to the males. Males occupy more remnants of forest using dispersal routes to avoid populated areas, thereby showing the potential areas to be conserved and restored as wildlife corridors. Due to this new and surprising data we must track the males for a longer time and collar more males. Since males cannot be tracked on foot, we have to move teams of volunteers and equipment to remote areas frequently, necessitating a vehicle. The data we obtain will create a better understanding of the behavior and environmental requirements of the Andean bear. This will help environmental authorities make informed decisions regarding handling of bear problems, and creation and design of protected natural areas. In this way we will conserve and protect the Andean bear and its habitats, guaranteeing the survival of a greater number of species dependent on wild habitat, with smaller ecological demands, consequently protecting the biodiversity of the region.