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Latam Eco Review: Paddington Bear Captured on Camera in Peru

Among the top articles from our Spanish language service, Mongabay Latam, for the week of June 4 – 10 was one about a golden spectacled bear named after Paddington Bear that was caught by a camera trap for the first time in Peru. In other news, the debate on hydroelectric plants intensifies in Colombia, and the Siona community of Ecuador seeks justice for the damage in their territory from oil exploration.

The image above by Michael Tweddle shows the golden spectacled bear caught on camera in Peru.

Diaethria clymena butterfly

The most popular image of the week on Latam’s social network was this one from the vast Mongabay archive of a Diaethria clymena butterfly, known as Cramer’s eighty-eight for the curious design on its wings. It is found from Mexico to Argentina.

Paddington Bear Captured on Camera in Peru

The rural community baptized the golden Andean bear captured by a camera trap for the first time in a mountain zone of the Amazonas region, “Paddy.” The name is due to its similarity to the famous fictional character from the story A Bear Called Paddington, who arrived in London from “the dark forests of Peru.” Also called Golden Bear, the animal belongs to the species Tremarctos ornatus, known as the Andean or spectacled bear, but is different from the rest of the population by its color: Andean bears are black, but this one is brown.

Paddy could be the only example of a golden bear that inhabits the Amazonas region. Image by Michael Tweddle/

Hydroelectric plants in Colombia: between environmental impact and development

The construction of hydroelectric plants, such as Hidroituango and El Quimbo, is surrounded by great controversy for the environmental and social damage that can be generated. El Quimbo alone affected more than 11,000 hectares of dry forest. In some cases, forests associated with hydroelectric projects can recover and even grow in size. This was the case of Hidromiel in the province of Caldas.

Native forest around Hidromiel in the province of Caldas. Image by Guillermo Rico for Mongabay.

The new orangutan discovered last year is nearly extinct

IUCN officially classified the Tapanuli orangutan, the ninth biggest ape, as Critically Endangered since the species lost more than 80% of its global population over generations due to habitat loss.

There are less than 800 Tapanuli orangutans, which makes it the rarest great ape. Image by Maxine Aliaga.

Oil pipeline built without an environmental permit threatens Ecuador’s Siona people

Deforestation and the absence of environmental permits for pipeline construction have caused environmental and cultural damage to a Siona community on the banks of the Putumayo river between Ecuador and Colombia. For more than two years, the community has sought reparations from the companies that built the pipeline, but neither the public defender’s office nor the environment ministry has offered any definitive resolution to their complaints.

Elder Humberto Piaguaje, from the San José de Wisuyá community next to the Putumayo River in March 2018. Image by Mateo Barriga Salazar.

Peru: Satellite images show impact of the highway in Loreto’s Amazon

Highways and river access roads figure among the main indirect causes of deforestation in the Amazon, explaining more than 60% of the loss in forest area, according to a report by the Global Green Growth Institute and the National Forest and Wildlife Service of Peru. Such is the case of a new highway that unites Yurimaguas with Jeberos in the Alto Amazonas province of Loreto, which has generated controversy among experts, indigenous leaders and officials. “It is a rare case of a new highway that crosses pristine forest, so the impact could be immense,” said Matt Finer, lead investigator for the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project.

The new highway crosses primary forests of the Loreto region. Image by the Loreto Regional Government.

US Zoologists learn to keep captive pangolins alive

Even though popular wisdom says that it is impossible to keep them in captivity, the Pangolin Consortium has created a home for 50 white-bellied pangolins.


Adult male white-bellied pangolin photographed in the Pangolin Conservation Center in St. Augustine, Florida. Image by Dev Lee.

 You can read about these stories in Spanish here.

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