Quito has leveraged its biodiversity and reputation for environmental conservation to win the world’s largest conference on bear biology, research, and management.
The Ecuadorean capital will host the 25th edition of the International Conference on Bear Research & Management in November 2017, supporting the scientific management of bears through research and information. The conference, held every 18 months, is run by the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), which has some 550 members from more than 50 countries, comprising professional biologists, wildlife managers and others dedicated to the conservation of bear species.
Ecuador places a major focus on the conservation of biodiversity. It combines the highest density of species diversity per unit area in the world, the highest human population density in South America, and an economy based on exploitation of natural resources. Ranging from tropical areas to arid areas, cloud forests, wilderness areas and snow along the inter-Andean mountain range, Quito’s rich biodiversity includes an important population of Andean bears, hence its nickname ‘Land of Bears’.
Quito prioritises environmental care and actively participates in the processes of change and conservation. Through its system of protected wildlife areas and work done by organisations such as the Center for Tropical Research (CTR)’s International Research and Training Center (IRTC), it aims to achieve conservation results by combining high-quality scientific research with on-the-ground socioeconomic approaches.
In Ecuador, the populations of wild Andean bears inhabit an area of some 58,000 sqkm, of which 19,000 sqkm are protected through the National System of Protected Areas.
The Quito region is home to five protected areas aimed at the conservation of natural ecosystems: Mashpi, Pachijal, Yunguilla, Pichincha-Atacazo and Cerro Las Puntas. It is also home to the Andean Bear Ecological Corridor in Northwestern Quito, which through conservation monitoring has registered more than 50 of Tremarctos ornatus, or the Andean spectacled bear. The last remaining short-faced bear and the only surviving species of bear native to South America, the species is classified as vulnerable because of habitat loss. Spectacled bears can also be found in Quito’s government-managed Cayambe Coca National Park and Antisana Ecological Reserve; and the Paluguillo Water Conservation Reserve (protected by the Water National Fund) and Antisanilla Reserve (a private reserve protected by the Jocotoco Foundation).
(via ICCA, Quito Land of Bears)
Featured image: Andean Spectacled Bear, Tremarctos ornatus, Credit: Juan Manuel Carrion