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Spectacled Bears protected in the Páramo

Páramo’s long-term carbon-balancing and conservation partner, World Land Trust (WLT), has announced that the Ministry of Environment of Peru has recognised a private conservation area (ACP) that will protect a large Páramo vegetation zone of the South American Andes. The community of San Juan de Sallique has pledged to protect approximately 8,650 acres (3,500 hectares) of Montane Forest and Páramo.

This reflects three years of work by the communities and WLT’s partner Naturaleza y Cultura Peru (NCP), securing the protection of this important habitat in perpetuity – an important step for wildlife such as Spectacled Bears and endangered Mountain Tapirs, but also a triumph for the communities dedicated to preserving their water sources through conservation and sustainable agricultural practices.

Mountain Tapir
Mountain Tapir

Sustainable livelihoods – a win-win

The commitment this community has made to conserving their landscape goes beyond land
conservation, as the people of San Juan de Sallique have spent the last three years learning
to work their land in a sustainable way. With the help of NCP, they have developed nurseries to grow tomatoes, limes and coffee without clearing the wild habitats surrounding their villages.

Bero Calvay, President of San Juan de Sallique Community, said “We have been trained in the technological practices we need to increase the volume of our harvests, which has made the food in the family basket increase and there is a better quality of life. In addition, this project safeguards our water source, because we do not affect the forests above us.”

The cloud forests in the mountains surrounding the communities provide fresh water for
about 3,000 families in San Juan de Sallique. The recognition of the new conservation area (named Páramos y Bosques Montanos de la Comunidad Campesina San Juan de Sallique) is important because it will protect these water sources from mining and agricultural clearance.

Next steps
“This is the second private conservation area that WLT and partner NCP have supported, as part of a project to ensure the protection of a corridor down the border of the Andes,” says Charlotte Beckham, Conservation Programmes Manager at WLT. “Following the successes of Chicuate-Chinguelas and San Juan de Sallique, WLT continues to support the recognition of a third ACP with the community of Tabaconas.”

Spectacled Bears
The spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), also known as the Andean bear and locally as jukumari (Aymara), ukumari (Quechua) or ukuku, is the last remaining short-faced bear. Spectacled bears are the only surviving bear species native to South America, and the only surviving member of the subfamily Tremarctinae. The species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN because of habitat loss.

©Nigel Simpson

The best habitats for spectacled bears are humid montane forests, as they are habitually arboreal. In Andean cloud forests, spectacled bears may be active both day and night. Their continued survival alongside humans has depended mostly on their ability to retreat by climbing even the tallest trees of the Andes. Once up a tree, they often build a platform, perhaps to aid in concealment, as well as to rest and store food on. Bears are believed to live to 20 years or more unless they conflict with humans.  The children’s character Paddington Bear is a spectacled bear, famously from “darkest Peru”.


Now available: the World Land Trust 2018 calendar.
It features 12 endangered species – including the Spectacled Bear – protected by WLT projects from Latin America, Asia and the Caucasus.

At £7.99, with all profits going to projects protecting the habitats of endangered species, it’s available to order from World Land Trust. Click here to buy.

Read about our carbon balancing with World Land Trust here.
Find out more about World Land Trust at

All images: ©NCP unless otherwise stated.

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