The Disney Conservation Fund was established in 1995 in order to accomplish a meaningful mission: protect wildlife and wild places, and connect people with nature.
Fast forward 20 years, and the fund has contributed $40 million to 330 non-profit organisations, helped protect more than 400 different wildlife species, and inspired millions of children and families to explore the great outdoors.
Cool Earth was given a special mission by the Disney Conservation Fund: to protect the habitat of the spectacled bear in Peru.
As well as being the inspiration for Paddington (surely the world’s favourite bear), spectacled bears are quite remarkable. Their face, neck, and chest markings are, like human fingerprints, unique to each bear.
They are nocturnal animals with a diet mainly consisting of fruit, berries, cacti, and honey. Occasionally they will supplement this with small rodents, birds, insects, and even small cows (we have fact checked this). This makes them the largest carnivores in South America. There are no reports of them eating marmalade sandwiches…yet.
But destruction of their rainforest means fewer than 3,000 spectacled bears may remain in the wild.
Which is why we were faint with excitement when Jaime and Andy from our biodiversity monitoring team got in touch. They have found solid evidence of bears residing close to villages in our Asháninka partnership.
With the help of a local guide, Jaime and Andy found bear footprints on the forest floor, and a palm plant that had been chewed by a bear. They also spotted an abundance of palm fruits and eggs on the forest floor, which are the perfect food source.
It’s nice having a bear around the house.