Andean Bears Hate Paparazzi, Destroy Cameras

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Andean bears act like irate paparazzi-hating celebrities when their pictures are taken, new video shows.

Most of us have watched footage of some annoyed celeb grabbing a photographer’s camera and, in a rage, smashing it to the ground. Andean bears, which apparently like their privacy too, react in a similar way when encountering camera traps.

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The Wildlife Conservation Society on Tuesday released a series of stop-action images that show what happened.

One series shows a particularly determined bear attacking a camera and leaving it torn open and dangling. Another series shows a mother and two cubs converging on a camera then playfully scratching and biting it like a toy.

The scientists won out, though, as they cleverly set out more than one camera, enabling the above footage to be shot. This all happened in a picturesque cloud forest at the Apolobamba National Natural Area of Integrated Management. This is a Bolivian protected area that borders Madidi National Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management.

“Andean bears are very curious animals,” Lilian Painter, WCS’s Bolivia country director, said in a press release. “But they are also very strong, and the cameras are like big flashing toys. Still, we were able to record important images that will allow us to better understand their distribution, abundance and behavior, and conserve these delightful bears into the future.”

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The bears are classified as “vulnerable,” but the population at this beautiful, protected part of Bolivia seems to be doing well. Elsewhere, things aren’t so good. Their habitat outside of the area is increasingly being fragmented for agriculture, grazing lands and human settlements.

The more promising news is that Madidi National Park is a paradise for the bears and all kinds of other wildlife. It contains 11 percent of the world’s birds, more than 200 species of mammals, 300 types of fish and 12,000 plant varieties.

Most animals probably hate to have their pictures taken, but sometimes there are surprises — like certain sloths that seem to pose and adore time in front of the camera. Hopefully the camera traps at Madidi will reveal more images and footage of wildlife in the months to come.

 

Image: Greg Hume, Wikimedia Commons