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23. Aug 2021

Researchers spot a “golden” bear while studying endangered spectacled bears in Peru – Paddington, is that you?

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Here you find the doctoral student’s profile of Julia Osterman. She published results of her doctoral studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and shared the research more widely with a press release.

About the author:

J. Osterman in the mountains

Field(s) of expertise during doctoral studies:

  • Pollination of crops
  • Bee conservation, bee ecology

Curriculum Vitae

  • Finishing her Ph.D. thesis
  • Doctoral studies in the group General Zoology of Prof. Dr. Robert Paxton at MLU
  • Master in Environmental Science at the University of Hohenheim and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science in 2014

Challenges, rewards and contribution

Q: What was your most important contribution to the publication?
A: My husband and I were joining the Peruvian NGO Yunkawasi to work with community conservation in the Andean cloud forest. We designed the study by ourselfs, coordinated the field work and analysed the data. We were supported by local guides to conduct the field work. It was a team work throughout.

Q: What was challenging and what was a rewarding moment during your work presented in the publication?
A: Working in the Andes was both the most challenging but also the most rewarding. To be able to observe bears, I had to hike for two hours from the village. The terrain was very challenging. But being in the cloud forest, observing Andean bears in the wild was spectacular.

Significance of publication

The number of spectacled bears in Peru might be larger than suspected. A team of researchers from Gothenburg University, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Stony Brook University studied the population of the endangered species in Northern Peru. By identifying individuals through facial patterns, they were able to estimate the population density in the area and identify an unknown hotspot. Intriguingly, the researchers also observed the first “golden” bear.

from press release no. 116/2021 of August 23, 2021.

Related publication

W. Osterman, F.M. Cornejo, J. Osterman
An Andean bear population hotspot in Northern Peru
Ursus 32e12, 1-10 (2021)
doi: 10.2192/URSUS-D-20-00005.3

About this profile

Doctoral students contribute significantly to publications highlighted by the MLU press office in many cases. These early stage researchers and their work in connection with the publication are in the focus of this profiles by InGrA.

Are you interested in science communication and have an interesting story to tell? Get in touch with MLU’s press office at

Über Thomas Michael

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