Hope for Threatened Species


Published in the April 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine

In summer 2014, while tracking a rare Andean bear in Ecuador’s Cayambe Coca National Park, scientists noticed that her activity centered on one area—a possible sign of nesting. They later found her cub. The animals, known also as spectacled bears for their facial markings, belong to the only wild bear species in South America; by some estimates, fewer than 3,000 now live in Ecuador. Ongoing observations of this cub will shape efforts to save the solitary, vulnerable species and perhaps boost its numbers.

—Lindsay N. Smith

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