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Animal World: Our Co-inhabitants

The Shy and Gentle Andean Bear-People

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Have you noticed the markings on my face? The design creates the impression that we are always wearing glasses, which is why many people call us spectacled bear-people. Each Andean bear-person has unique coloration. Our traditional home is the Andes mountain range, and we are the only remaining bear-people native to South America.

We are medium-sized compared to our friends in other bear species. All the different kinds of bear-people on Earth have 14 pairs of ribs, except for us. We nonconformists from the Andean bear kingdom have only 13.

We routinely travel through the forest searching for food. Our olfactory nerves are highly capable of finding fruits that are ready to be eaten. That means we can smell them – even if they are high up in a tree and we are down on the ground. Besides, we are natural climbers, so one of our favorite pastimes is constructing multipurpose platforms among the branches. We like to call them nests.

While we are seemingly friendly and outgoing, we are actually shy and elusive. We are not territorial, but we don’t like the stress of competition. Due to the tropical weather conditions in our part of South America, we do not need to hibernate, and our fur is not so thick. But wherever we go, we are instantly prepared to climb to the top of the nearest tree, for our survival depends on it.

As with many other forest species, our habitats are being altered by climate change and reduced by mining operations, extensive logging, and commercial farming. But for example, I have cousins in Ecuador who lost about 40% of their natural environment that was not protected from development. When the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last assessed spectacled bear-people for their Red List of Threatened Species, our assigned category was Vulnerable. Not only do bear-people love to be free and happy, but our co-inhabitants languishing in livestock factories pray incessantly for their liberation. Won’t you please help all of us by being vegan?
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