‘PIJAO’, THE PET SPECTACLED BEAR OF THE 2021 SPEED SKATING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

A very traditional animal from the interior departments of Colombia, especially from Tolima, which represents the diversity of fauna of our country, is the chosen one to be the mascot of the 2021 Skating World Cups.

This sporting event will be surrounded by nature and that seeks to highlight, from the organization, the importance of the environment for sport, culture and recreation. Always thinking of green and respect for ‘Mother Earth’, the Colombian Rollersports Federation chose a species that is currently in a state of vulnerability according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

This is the Spectacled bear, whose scientific name is “Tremarctos ornatus” and is part of the family of omnivorous bears. It is the only South American native bear, inhabiting the Andes Mountain range from Bolivia to Venezuela. 

Males are usually larger than females. They reach heights up to 1.90 meters and weights up to 140 kilograms. It is an animal that fulfills various ecological functions that benefit its ecosystem: it is a predator, seed spreader and also a pollinator.

Females begin their reproductive stage at age 4. They reach maturity and begin the months of courtship with the males until she is ready to procreate. The gestation periods last about 8 months and they usually give birth to two cubs that will be with them until they are two years old.

The spectacled bear diet is made up of honey, fruits, plants and small animals. In addition, this species was the only one that survived of the 13 short-faced species that appeared on the planet more than 2 million years ago.

Their fur is usually black or brown, while their eyes are surrounded by a white spot for which they receive their name. 

According to a 2018 World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report, there are about 8000 specimens only in Colombia so, in addition to our commitment to the environment, we also seek to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity to care for and learn more about the species that surround us. The Spectacled Bear is vital to Colombian forests.

The mascot of the Speed Skating World Championships will be called ‘Pijao’, like the indigenous tribe whose settlement was in the Department of Tolima. The chroniclers of the time of the Spanish conquest told that they were ‘bellicose’ peoples, who rebelled against the colony.

Tradition and biodiversity, that is what represents our ‘Pijao’ wich help us to tell the world more about the fauna of Colombia, a country that is projected through world skating. 

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