Our work to document the Andean (spectacled) bear has been tough, but very rewarding. The Andean bear is one of the most elusive and little-known mammals on the planet. In fact, it's so rarely seen that we do not know how many are left throughout its five-country range in South America. Biologist Robyn Appleton has set out to change that. And Wildlife Media is helping her shape a future for bears and people in a place where it is tough for both to survive.
Robyn works hand-in-hand with Javier and Jose Vallejos - a father and son from the local village. Javier was, at one time, the most respected hunter in the region. Now, through Robyn's work, he has become the lead villager on a quest to save these bears from extinction.
By working collaboratively with private landowners and rural communities to improve their social and economic wellbeing, the project is steering a positive course for bears and people in the area. Not only that, but much of the data being gathered is new to the science world.
Robyn, Javier, and Jose contacted Chris Morgan at Wildlife Media in spring 2008 after hearing about BEARTREK through the bear conservation community. Since that time, Wildlife Media, its board, and supporters have provided funding for Javier and Jose's salaries, remote cameras, a cutting-edge satellite radio collar, and an anti-poaching fence and gate. Our footage is also helping to tell the story of this species and the project in Peru and it is having an impact at many levels. For example, Robyn showed some of our film footage to the government during her work to establish a protected area for the bears (satellite collars helped to determine how much land they needed). The result was a brand new national park in Peru - no small accomplishment. While we were there filming we also had the chance to share footage with several classrooms. When Chris tells the story he remembers wiping away the tears as the BEARTREK footage played to a classroom full of local schoolchildren in Peru - the first time many of them had even thought about these animals. This is just another example of our multifaceted approach to forging positive change for wildlife and people.
In our two filming trips to Peru we have captured some ground-breaking footage of this mysterious species. We are pretty sure it is the most impressive professional footage in existence. You will be amazed by what you see - these bears climb vertical cliff walls, eat the solid wood from the trunks of trees, and gain and lose around half their body weight each year as their seasonal diets shift. Now, Wildlife Media will bring this story to the world through our campaign and feature-length film, BEARTREK.