Spectacled Bear

(Tremarctos ornatus)


Spectacled Bear IUCN VULNERABLE (VU)


Facts about this animal

The spectacled bear is a relatively small bear species. The total length ranges from 100-180 cm, the shoulder height from 60-80 cm and the weight from 70-140 kgs, with females being significantly smaller than males. The tail is very short, only about 7 cm. The head is characterized by a short light brown or buff muzzle, small ears and a white, cream or tan line over or around the eyes, which extends over the nose down to the chest.


Spectacled bears live in the high, humid forests of the Andes Mountains and in thorn forests along the South American coast. They are good climbers and often build a platform of broken branches in a tree and stands on it to reach fruit. Not only do they feed in trees, but they build nests in the branches for sleeping.


Spectacled bears do not hibernate. Their diet consists of fruit, cacti and other plants, and sometimes they feed on small animals.

Did you know?
That each spectacled bear can be individually recognized by its own distinctive set of distinct cream or whitish markings on its head, throat, and chest? The variability in these markings led some Peruvians to think two bear species lived in their country, one carnivorous and one vegetarian.


Name (Scientific) Tremarctos ornatus
Name (English) Spectacled Bear
Name (French) Ours à lunettes
Name (German) Brillenbär
Name (Spanish) Oso frontino, Oso anteojos
Local names Ucumari, Isnache, Ocucu, Mashiramo
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Tom Friedel



Range Andes mountain range in South America
Habitat Wide range of habitats and altitudes throughout the mountain range. They are found in cloud forests, high altitude grasslands and scrub desert.
Wild population Approx. 5.000-30.000 (2003) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 146 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Spectacled Bear


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 72 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The spectacled bear is rated vulnerable and has a relatively small wild population. With a view of building up a viable reserve population, an International Studbook has been established already in 1996 under the WAZA umbrella, and coordinated conservation breeding programmes are operated at the regional level by AZA, EAZA and JAZA.


The spectacled bear is also a good ambassador species for its habitat, the Andean cloud forest. As keeping with other species, such as coati or monkey is possible, exhibits with a great educational value can be designed.