Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya & Andrew Whitworth

Perpetual Planet Amazon Expedition

In the Cloud Forest

As part of the Rolex and National Geographic Perpetual Planet Amazon Expedition, Quechua biologist and National Geographic Explorer Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya is searching for Andean bears that regenerate cloud forests which feed water into the Amazon River basin.


Mist rolls across the cloud forests of the Andean mountains and permeates the luscious vegetation blanketing the ground. An important source of water for the Amazon River basin, the cloud forests are home to the Andean bear, a timid but charismatic animal that regenerates the forests as it roams the harsh, wet landscape. The Rolex and National Geographic Perpetual Planet Amazon Expedition has set out to define the critical and interconnected functions of the basin. With support from long-term academic collaborator and fellow National Geographic Explorer Andrew Whitworth as well as her field team – including key members such as biologists Norma Mamani, Elias Condori and Mark Thomas, veterinarian Diego Rolim and local assistant Narciso Llacta – Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya is gaining an insight into how Andean bears are interacting with their habitat and what this could mean for the forests’ future, and that of the river basin.

Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya & Andrew Whitworth
Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya & Andrew Whitworth