Sustainability | FEBRUARY 22nd, 2019
Within the framework of the World Andean Bear Day, the Fundación Grupo Argos ratifies its commitment to the conservation of this important specie through the Conservamos la Vida program. This project, in alliance with National Parks of Colombia, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS Colombia), Julio Mario Santo Domingo Foundation, the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Valle del Cauca (CVC) and the Smurfit Kappa Colombia Foundation, seeks, among many actions, the protection of the Andean Bear habitat in prioritized areas of the Western Cordillera of Colombia.
One of the central actions promoted by these institutions to commemorate this day is the #PonteLosAnteojosPorLaVida campaign, which seeks to raise awareness throughout the national territory with actions that invite you to learn more about the Andean Bear and the importance of its conservation. The Fundación Grupo Argos, in addition to its commitment with this campaign and rewarding the participation of users in social media, will also celebrate with the communities of the municipalities of El Águila and Dagua, in Valle del Cauca; and El Tambo, in Cauca, that participate in the program Conservamos la Vida and have understood that the bear is a fundamental for the balance of ecosystems.
“From Fundación Grupo Argos we recognize the importance of the Andean Bear for Colombian ecosystems and the protection of other species in the country and the Andean Region. That is why since 2015 we have been working hard on the restoration of private and public areas that allow the expansion of areas for the bear conservation center, as well as the generation of awareness in the communities that live nearby; and in Colombians in general, having considering that these are primary actors in the protection of this species”, said Ana Mercedes Villegas, Executive Director of Fundación Grupo Argos.
In Conservamos la Vida, the Fundación Grupo Argos has invested around 1.5 billion pesos, a figure that doubles in alliances with other entities, which has allowed promoting a harmonious coexistence between the bear and the communities that lives in this territory. The above is achieved through activities such as the "dialogue of knowledge" with the residents, in order to improve their productive activities and teaching spaces in educational institutions to share with children strategies to live with the species and increase the subsistence of the long term project.
Thanks to this program, in 2018, 28 families signed conservation agreements for the Andean Bear and have committed themselves to improving their quality of life, without affecting the presence of the bear in their environment.
About the Andean Bear
• It can measure between 1.20 and 1.80 meters in length.
• Its weight is between 90 and 120 kilograms. However, some specimens have come to be recognized with a weight close to 170 kilograms.
• Its 5-toed legs and large claws allow you to climb trees to feed or rest.
• Its tail is small: it has approximately seven centimeters.
• In the wild, they can live up to 30 years.
• He is shy, lonely and peaceful. It does not constitute a risk to man, as long as he is not attacked or injured.
• Although his typical habitat is the Andean cloud forest (1800 and 2700 meters elevation) and the moorland in the Andes (above 3200 meters high), it also has the ability to adapt to different spaces such as thorny forests.
• It is considered as an “umbrella species”, which means that it is key to the planning and conservation of ecosystems, due to its characteristics, required area and the connectivity he demands for his habitat.