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Spectacled Bears (aka Andean Bears)

Updated on July 23, 2012

Spectacled (aka Andean Bears) -- Here's looking at ya!

Spectacled Bears made headlines when Tunk was born in Feb of 2007 during the time Knut, the polar bear cub was gaining fame in Berlin, Germany. Knut overshadowed his cousin in the news but not in the hearts of some bear lovers.

I love Spectacled Bears and wanted to share what I found out about these wonderful bears with you. Here you'll find facts, photos, videos, organizations working to save them and other important links.

I will continue to research these bears and post what I find here so come back often.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Ursidae

Genus: Tremarctos

Gervais, 1855

Species: T. ornatus

Binomial name

Tremarctos ornatus

(Cuvier, 1825)

From Wikipedia

Where Spectacled or Andean Bears Live

Spectacled bears or Andean bears are only found in South America (see map) specifically in Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

They are found in all of the different forests: rain forests, what are called cloud forests and dry forests as well as in coastal scrub desert -- anywhere the Bromeliaceae family of plants (their favorite food) are found, you find these bears.


These bears are small and get their name -- Spectacled Bears -- from the distinctive creamy-white markings around their eyes, which look like glasses. They usually have some creamy-white on their throats and chests as well.


These are small bears with the males weighing between 220 and 340 pounds and the females between 140 and 180 pounds. They are 60 to 72 inches long.


They eat a variety of food from mice and rabbits to fruit and grasses. Their favorite food are plant leaves, bases and hearts from the Bromeliaceae family of plants.

Conservation Status

Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)

From Wikipedia

What does an Andean bear look like without fur?

Naked bear

What does a Spectacled Bear look like with fur? Well, we found out when the female bears at the Leipzig Zoo in Germany lost all of their hair. The zoo is working to solve the problem. Below is a photo of Dolores sans hair.

For more photos, click Spectacled Bears

With winter coming, the bear's coats usually thicken for the colder temperatures. Hopefully the zoo will provide more heat for this this winter.

Photo: Picture Allianace/DPAPhotoshot

Tunk, The Little Spectacled Bear In Germany

Tunk, which is Knut spelled backwards was the little Spectacled Bear born in Feb 2007 just as Knut, the polar bear cub, was gaining fame.

While Knut was taking the limelight, little Tunk was pretty much in the dark. Most people have never even heard of him.

Unlike Knut, who's mother abandoned him at birth, little Tunk's mother was a good one and he shared his area with her.

Tunk is a cutie -- see the pictures throughout this lens to see just how cute he is!

Tunk Playing With Mom

Tunk Playing With Mom
Tunk Playing With Mom

Books On Spectacled Bears

Here are some great books on Spectacled Bears. Let people know which you think are the best by voting for your favorite book. It's okay to vote for more than 1. And, you can add a another one from Amazon or take a copy of this list. If you add one, don't forget to vote for it!

Videos of Spectacled Bears

Rescuing the Spectacled Bear [ - A true story of trying to save spectacled bears


The book has lots of great photos and a touching and somewhat gritty story of trying to beat the red tape back to save some spectacled bears from a terrible life. It would make a wonderful 'read to me' book to introduce children to the spectacled bear and conservation.


Other Books about Spectacled Bears on Amazon - Read about Spectacled Bears

Cuddlekins Bear Spectacled 12in Plush Toy
Cuddlekins Bear Spectacled 12in Plush Toy

These stuffed animals have realistically adorable faces, highly detailed designs and quality fabric.


Origami Spectacled Bear

How to make an origami Spectacled Bear.

Want to make a origami Spectacled Bear like the one below? Simple. Go to Spectacled Bear: Jucumari and get instructions. Here's what yours could look like...

Member of Save Our Bears (SOB)

Save Our Bears Headquarters is a group of lenses devoted to help change the plight all of the 8 bear species through awareness and fund raising.

The lenses show the wonderful nature of bears and many will, at the same time, shine a spotlight on the dangers bears face including: trophy hunters, gall bladder and bile farming, pollution, bear baiting, global warming, and habitat destruction.

You'll also find fun lenses on great polar bear movies, books, teddy bears, even cartoon and toy bears.

Click Save Our Bears (SOB) to go to the Headquarters page.

Tunk Riding Mom

Tunk Riding Mom
Tunk Riding Mom

Want To Link To This Lens? Here's How


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Spectacled Bears (aka Andean Bears)


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Copyright 2008-2012 Frankie Kangas All rights reserved.

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    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      @LisaDH: I look every once in a while and there has been no more stories about the bald bears. So, I'd guess they haven't figured it out.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      I feel bad for the bald spectacled bears in Germany. I looked around the Internet for an update, but couldn't find one. Do you know what ever happened? Did they ever find out why the bears went bald?

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I feel so bad for the bears that lost their hair. I hope the zoo was able to help them,

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      Love the bear photo in the caption contest! Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @Franksterk: frankie, your polar bear site is great too! will have to spend some time reading both sites! ... i love your polar butt pic. i took a photo of our ulu's bum the other day, it ws so fluffy it looked like a bunny butt!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @Franksterk: Hi Frankie, Thank you! I friend forwarded me this site as I we were going thru a slow 700s and want to reach the goal! Thankx for the help! Kim

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you for starting the petition to get Wishbone grass in his enclosure. I have signed the petition and posted it to Facebook and my bear blog ( Bear hugs, Frankie

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have a wonderful Andean Bear friend at my local Zoo. He does not have grass in his enclosure and I have started a petition in hopes the Zoo will give him some. PLease visit the site and sign! Help bring grass to Wishbone's home :) Thank you, Kim ...

    • imolaK profile image

      imolaK 7 years ago

      These bears are very cute ! Blessed by an Angel !

    • profile image

      OvarianCyst-Treatment 7 years ago

      The origami ones are the only ones I am not scare of...

      Well, the real ones look very nice too but ON THE PICTURE :-)

      Nice lens.

      Clare Witmer, ovarian cyst treatment

    • profile image

      JoanWit3 7 years ago

      Lovely lens.

      They are cute but very dangerous :-)

      Joan Sean Conway Tiverton gazebo

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      OMG, but these are sure special creatures -- they look really intelligent too!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      I LOVE Spectacled Bears. Came back to leave an ~*~* Angel Blessing *~*~ here on one of the first Squidoo lenses I visited.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      The Spectacled Bears are beautiful!

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 9 years ago from Covington, LA

      Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens links to the appropriate plexos and vote for them.

    • profile image

      Oosquid 9 years ago

      I'd never heard of Spectacled Bears but thanks to this lens I know a little about them - fascinating! 5 stars.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Splendid lens. 5*s

      Welcome to