The spectacled bear, also known as the Andean bear, is the only bear species native to South America, and it is found in several countries, including Ecuador. Here they inhabit the montane forests and cloud forests of the Andes Mountains and are typically found at altitudes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 meters (3,280 to 13,123 feet) above sea level. Generally solitary and are known for their shaggy black fur with distinctive beige or whitish facial markings that give them the appearance of wearing "spectacles," hence their name. They are primarily herbivorous, feeding on a diet of vegetation, fruits, and occasionally small mammals.
Spectacled bears are considered vulnerable and are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. They face threats such as habitat loss due to deforestation, human encroachment, and poaching. Ecuador has taken steps to protect spectacled bears and their habitats. Several national parks and protected areas, such as Sangay National Park and Antisana Ecological Reserve, provide important habitats for these bears. Conservation organizations also work on raising awareness and conducting research to aid in the protection of this species. It's important to note that while spectacled bears are known to inhabit parts of Ecuador, they are elusive creatures, and sightings are relatively rare.