A new spectacled bear sighting in Machu Picchu’s Inca sanctuary, caught on camera and shared on social media, confirms this protected species’ regular strolls in the archaeological park, the Decentralized Culture Directorate of Cusco (DDCC) said.
The spotting of Andean bears —as they are also known— over the past two weeks has become an added draw for tourists visiting Peru’s major landmark, park head Fernando Astete told Andina news agency.
Although generally nocturnal, South America’s only bear usually visits the Inca citadel in the mornings. The one he spotted was walking around Machu Picchu between 8-9 AM, for the delight of camera-in-hand tourists.
The spectacled bear’s route, now a favorite among visitors, begins by the Watchman’s House, going across the terraces and towards the Inca Bridge. It is worth noting this is a harmless species that feeds mostly on vegetables, occasionally indulging in deer or llamas.
The elusive bear is gradually becoming a common sight in Machu Picchu thanks to State-run National Service of Natural Protected Areas (Sernanp), which works on the protection of this endangered species.
“Since it is a protected area, people like farmers and locals are used to seeing it. They used to be poached many years ago, but not anymore. Efforts are being made to increase its population,” he pointed out.
They are spotted all year around, usually before noon.
Andean bears are monitored by park rangers and surveillance cameras implemented in the park and in Machu Picchu Inca sanctuary.
“It was right there, I was walking [by the terraces] when the spectacled bear passed,” Astete narrated.