Researchers have discovered a secret population of spectacled bears in a remnant, endangered forest in the highlands of Bolivia. The forest is one of the last surviving patches of the highly imperilled inter-Andean dry forest. While the spectacled bear population is small and has many threats, researchers say they hope to connect it with other populations. EL PALMAR, Bolivia — It was worth the journey. After sweating across the scrubby Bolivian mountainsides, stepping into the forest was like entering a different world. Twisted pino de monte pines trailed ghostly green-gray lichens into our faces. Ferns and, much to my surprise, moss sprung from the cracks in the bark and the little nooks where the branches met the trunks. The temperature seemed to drop by at least 10 degrees. But it was more than just the break from the heat; my eyes greedily drunk in the sight of so much green and so many complex textures, after miles of looking at dry soils and sparse, thorny bushes. This place, high in the Bolivian Andes, looked like it held ancient secrets — and my traveling companion, Mauricio Peñaranda del Carpio, a biologist at Universidad Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca and the Cohabitar […]


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