New York Project
Conservation and management of Andean bears from regional to local scales: occupancy, density, connectivity, and threats
August 2017 - May 2020
- Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
The Andean bear is the only extant species of bear in South America and is considered threatened across its range due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and illegal hunting. Typically, Andean bear inhabit natural areas with little to no human presence/activity, occurring between 200-4700 m elevation. Nevertheless, in Colombia non-protected areas have historically had a high level of human presence/activity. Consequently, Andean bear populations are isolated, and exposed to a diverse degree of human related threats, including human-bear conflict in the form of retaliatory hunting. Monitoring changes in the Andean bear population, and understanding their relationship with threats and environmental variables is necessary for informing management decisions. The objectives of this study are to 1) evaluate the relationship between real/perceived damage caused by Andean bears, farmers’ attitudes about bears, and bear killing; 2) Evaluate landscape factors and species threats that contribute to regional occupancy of Andean bears. 3) Estimate density and connectivity of Andean bears in priority conservation areas, and evaluate the relationship between density and occupancy.