The Science Times report:
Bolivian Biologist Works For Peaceful Co-Existence Between Humans And Bears
One Bolivian biologist has an interesting task to promote harmony and co-existence between humans and spectacled or Andean bears, in Bolivia. It was Ximena Velez-Liendo, the Bolivian biologist, who spearheaded the “Conservation through Co-existence: Andean Bears and People” project. This was among the six finalists for Britain’s Whitley Award. Some people even look at this as the “Oscars” of conservation. The top Whitley Award winner will be announced on May 18.
This interesting project by the Bolivian biologist explores issues and conflicts between Andean bears, called the Jucumari in Bolivia and humans, according to EFE. The Andean bears are consumers of plants, fruit, mammals, birds and insects. However, they even attack cattle and hence might be in danger of being put to death by farmers.
The bears have been blamed for the loss of livestock in the various farms in countries such as Bolivia and other places in South America, according to Bearbiology. Scientists, such as the Bolivian biologist, say that even small populations of bears can cause conflicts.
“What the project is doing is evaluating the level of conflict, how much cattle people lose and determining how to reduce (the losses) based on the analysis,” the Bolivian biologist Velez-Liendo told EFE.
In 1999, she spotted one of the spectacled bears when she was busy working on her thesis at Carrasco National Park in Cochabamba. This was a region situated in the central part of Bolivia. “It was the first time I was in the field and the first time I saw a bear. That was and is the most beautiful memory I have up to now,” the Bolivian biologist told EFE.
These strange and rare animals are the only bears of the species that live in South America. They are said to be threatened, as the number of their population is very low, as the Bolivian biologist found. Other bears that live in tropical Andean areas in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru include the Spectacled bears. They sport light fur around their eyes. This makes them look as if they are wearing eyeglasses.
[To watch a National Geographic video of the Jucumari, please use the link below]