Ted Travels: Bumping into Mr Paddington
A few years ago, while on a trip to Latin America I was lucky enough to bump into a bear! It wasn’t any kind of bear it was a spectacled bear. As we were about to reach the Sun gate on a One Day Inca Trail walk, one of these docile mammals just crossed our path!
Spotting wildlife in Latin America has been a highlight for many of our clients, some of them have been lucky enough to see jaguars, pumas, and even humpback whales!
Spectacle bears are the only bear you can find in South America; they live in the Andean jungles and are distinctive for the whitish rings that circle their eyes. You could probably recognise one if you know the children’s book Paddington Bear. These bears are smaller in size to others and they seem very friendly, only 5% of their diet is based on meat, so maybe that’s why we were almost unnoticed to the one crossing our path.
Clients might be able to cross paths with a cousin of Mr. Paddington on their trip to South America, some of our favourite accommodations have focused on conservation projects that keep track of these friendly mammals making safer for the wildlife to inhabit the Andean landscape. Hacienda Zuleta, in Ecuador, has been identifying and tracking spectacled bears since 2009 that live in the surrounding areas, and through their Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation that are actively working to preserve them in their habitat.
Their inhouse biologist explains that by looking after the ecosystems the wildlife proliferates, education is central to the conservation of environment and culture. On your clients stay at Hacienda Zuleta they will not only enjoy this beautiful accommodation, but also engage in activities to learn about the environment, indigenous community and see these friendly creatures. We can create an itinerary full of the amazing wildlife hotspots that Ecuador offers, and make an unbelievable trip exploring the Andes, Ecuador’s’ Cloud Forest and Galapagos Islands!
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au