Defend Threatened Wildlife
If you hike the wild lands of the Andes, and you’re quiet and a bit lucky, you might encounter an Andean bear. You will be astounded by its grandeur. And saddened to know that the bear population, not exceeding 3,000 individuals in Ecuador, is declining across its range, which extends from Venezuela to Bolivia and Argentina.
These charismatic creatures are losing their forest and high grassland habitats to agricultural expansion. To survive, they need our help. FCT has focused its efforts in the southern part of Sangay National Park and its buffer zone, where a healthy population of Andean bears is found. Our challenge is to protect the population, and to do this we organize our efforts along two lines of action:
education in school and community settings
ecological research of bear diets, demography, and habitat use
These varied activities operate within our Don Oso Program. We include the “don”, as it is used for humans (As in, “Buenos días, don Juan”), to signal the sense of identification with the bear held by farmers. Residents on the agricultural frontier living in proximity to native habitat will say about bears, “Sólo les falta el habla”, meaning, “The only thing they lack is the ability to speak”.