We were deeply saddened to hear of the news that Michael Bond, creator of the much revered Paddington Bear, passed away last week. Bond was a true literary sensation who brought smiles to many faces, thanks to over 200 much loved children’s books and short stories for adults. Of Bond’s success it is, of course, A Bear Called Paddington, which will remain with us at Inkaterra most intensely, with Peru being the native home of the Spectacled Bears, of which Paddington Bear was based on.
The story begun in 1957 when Bond, anxious to pick up a last minute Christmas gift for his wife, found a lone bear-glove puppet sat alone on the shelf of Selfridges in London. Little did Bond know just how important this friendly bear would become to children all over the world.
Paddington Bear was born in “Darkest Peru”, but found himself aboard a ship set for Great Britain. Perched on his worn suitcase on the platform at Paddington station, dressed in his emblematic blue duffle coat and red hat, Paddington was found by the Brown family. The iconic children’s character went on to enjoy years of adventures and countless marmalade sandwiches. Paddington lived a fulfilled life thanks to the Browns, instructed by the luggage tag placed around Paddington’s neck to ‘please look after this bear’.
Whilst our own ‘Paddington Bears’ at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel don’t come with labels, we are trying to do just what the Browns did and protect our furry friends. At Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel we have established a rescue centre for Andean Spectacled Bears, the real life Paddington. The Inkaterra Asociación strives to rehabilitate the bears and works towards reintroducing them into their natural habitat whenever possible. The Spectacled Bear is the only species of bear native to South America and their numbers are rapidly declining in the wild. They have been identified by IUCN as having a vulnerable conservation status, which is why it is a priority for us to protect its kind as best as we can.
National Geographic has launched a short film in support of the Spectacled Bear and its conservation. Produced by GLP Films, the two and a half minute feature highlights Inkaterra’s work to protect the endangered bear species, including words from Inkaterra CEO and Founder, José Koechlin, as well as staff at Inkaterra involved in the project. Whilst we work to protect the Spectacled Bears in Peru, we will always have Paddington Bear and his creator, Michael Bond, in our thoughts.