Patagonian short-faced bear

There have been a handful of vague reports of what seems to be a small surviving population of Arcotherium, more commonly called short-faced bears, in Patagonia. Short-faced bears were a species of ursid, possibly one of the largest, that inhabited both North and South America. They could weigh up to 2,100 pounds and be more than 12 feet when standing. Unfortunately, short-faced bears are believed to have gone extinct 10-11 thousand years ago. However, there are still sightings in areas such as the Nahanni Valley in northwestern Canada and the Peruvian Amazon. Interestingly, there are also additional obscure reports of them in Patagonia. 


In the late 1890s, Argentine biologist Francisco Moreno was told of multiple reports of finding gigantic bear prints, more than twice the size of spectacled bears, the largest, and only species of bear in South America. A year or two later, a topographer named Juan Waag, who worked for the Argentine Border Commission on the Chilean side, claimed to have found fresh tracks of what appeared to have been from a gigantic bear. Possibly one of the most surprising reports of surviving cave bears comes from the 1911 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. In their section about Arctotherium, they wrote that they may still exist in Patagonia, claiming that both actual visual encounters and tracks have been found in, what is now, the Lago Cochrane Natural Reserve and the La Frontera region of Chile.

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