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City Highlights

The Andean Bear: An Emblem of Quito

3 July 2019

A few years ago, a three-month-old orphaned bear cub in poor health, was rescued in the subtropical forests of Quito, Ecuador. The cub was transferred to a zoo and baptized as Yumbo, in honor of the ancestral culture of this region which emphasised living harmoniously with nature. Once the cub reached maturity, he was released back into the forest with a GPS collar for monitoring. Thanks to this tracking, it is estimated that, together with Yumbo, there are 45 Andean bears to the northwest of Quito, facing threats from human activity, deforestation and hunting. To improve the bears’ feeding habits, reproduction and genetic exchange, in 2013, the Secretary of the Environment of the Quito Municipal District established an ecological corridor. This measure also seeks to improve the quality of their habitat as a whole through the fauna and flora. The Andean bear is considered an umbrella species: its existence is a key indicator of a healthy forest.