Asian Black Bear

Asian Black Bear

name = Asian Black Bear
status = VU
trend = unknown
status_system = iucn2.3
status_ref =IUCN2006|assessors=Bear Specialist Group|year=1996|id=22824|title=Ursus thibetanus|downloaded=9 May 2006 Listed as Vulnerable (VU A1cd v2.3)]

image_width = 250px
image_caption =
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Mammalia
ordo = Carnivora
familia = Ursidae
genus = "Ursus"
species = "U. thibetanus"
binomial = "Ursus thibetanus"
binomial_authority = (G. Cuvier, 1823)
synonyms = *"Selenarctos thibetanus"

range_map_width = 200px
range_map_caption = Asian Black Bear range

The Asian black bear ("Ursus thibetanus" or "Selenarctos thibetanus"), also known as the Asiatic Black Bear, Tibetan black bear, the Himalayan black bear, or the Moon bear, is a medium sized, sharp-clawed, black-colored bear with a distinctive white or cream "V" marking on its chest. It is a close relative of the American black bear with which it is thought to share a European common ancestor.cite book | author = Macdonald, David | url = | title = The Encyclopedia of Mammals: 1| year = 1984 | pages = pp.446 | id = ISBN 0-04-500028-x]


The Asian black bear grows to approximately 130 to 190 cm (4¼ to 6¼ ft) in length. Males weigh between 100 and 218 kg (220 to 480 lb) and females weigh between 50 to 125 kg (110 to 275 lb). [] The tail is 4.4 inches long.cite book | author = Brown, Gary | title = Great Bear Almanac | year = 1996 | pages = pp.340 | id = ISBN 1558214747] The bear's life span is around 25 years.

Range and habitat

The Asian Black Bear has a wide distribution range spanning from the east to west of the Asian continent. This bear can be found in the forests of hilly and mountainous areas in East Asia and South Asia, including South Korea, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh northern India, Nepal, Sikkim (Indian state), Bhutan, Burma, southern Siberia in Russia, northeastern China, Taiwan and Japan. It can be found in areas with elevations as high as 4,700 m (13,776 ft), but in lower lands as well. In some parts of its range, the Asian Black Bear shares its habitat with the larger and stronger Brown Bear ("Ursus arctos"). However, the smaller black bear has an advantage over its competitor: its climbing skills which help it reach for fruit and nuts in the trees. Asian Black Bears share Giant Panda habitat in China's Wolong Reserve, where they feed occasionally, among other things, on bamboo, which is their more specialized relatives' favorite food. The subspecies of the Asian Black Bear that is found in Taiwan is the Formosan Black Bear ("U. thibetanus formosanus").


The Asian Black Bear is an omnivore which consumes a great variety of foods and are opportunistic and seasonal in diet. In fall, they fatten themselves on acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, and other fat-rich resources. They climb trees to get these foods, as well as picking them from the forest floor. In spring, new plant growth provides a bounty for the bears, which seek out bamboo, raspberry, hydrangea, and other plants. They also raid rodents' caches of acorns or collect those left on the forest floor from the previous fall, and may eat the rodents also on the rare occasion of catching them. Other plants offer food in summer, including raspberries, cherries, and grasses. Insect food, especially ants, augments the summer diet. Asian Black Bears will eat carrion, and sometimes attack livestock. Vertebrates, mostly small, are taken when available, including fish, birds, rodents and other mammals. [] The Asian Black Bear is thought to be somewhat more carnivorous than its American cousin. Nevertheless, meat only makes up a small part of its diet.


This bear has been known to be quite aggressive towards human beings (more so than the American Black Bear); there have been numerous records of bear attacks and killings. This is probably mainly because the Asian Black Bear is more likely to come into contact with people, and will often attack if startled. Due to their size and disposition, adult bears have few natural enemies, although they may comprise up to 7% of the prey taken by Siberian tigers where the two are sympatric. [islav Mazak: Der Tiger. Nachdruck der 3. Auflage von 1983. Westarp Wissenschaften Hohenwarsleben, 2004 ISBN 3 894327596] Black bears are not preyed upon by tigers as frequently as brown bears, due to their ability to escape danger by rapidly climbing trees.cite book | author = V.G Heptner & A.A. Sludskii | title = Mammals of the Soviet Union, Volume II, Part 2 | year = | pages = | id = ISBN 9004088768]


Listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's (IUCN's) Red List of Threatened Animals. It is threatened mainly by deforestation and habitat loss. The bears are also killed by farmers due to the threat they pose to livestock, and they are also unpopular for their habit of stripping bark from valuable timber trees.

Asian Black Bears are also threatened by hunting, especially for their gall bladders to obtain bile, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Since China outlawed the poaching of native bears in the 1980s, bear bile has been supplied to Chinese consumers by special farms, where the bears are kept constantly caged and restrained while catheters inserted in their gall bladders allow bile to drip into a container and be collected. Supporters of this practice contend that, without these farms, the demand for bear bile would create a tremendous incentive for poaching and put the already endangered species at even greater risk. Critics, however, assert that the practice is patently cruel and inhumane, and that synthetic bear bile, ursodeoxycholic acid, is just as medicinally effective as real bear bile, and in fact much cheaper.


* Formosan Black Bear, "Ursus thibetanus formosanus" Swinhoe, 1864, or "Selenarctos thibetanus formosanus" - in Taiwan
* Baluchistan Bear, "Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus" Blanford, 1877, or "Selenarctos thibetanus gedrosianus" - in Iran and Pakistan
* Japanese Black Bear,"Ursus thibetanus japonicus" Schlegel, 1857, or "Selenarctos thibetanus japonica" - in Japan
* "Ursus thibetanus laniger" (Pocock, 1932), or "Selenarctos thibetanus laniger" - in Afghanistan and southeast Iran and southern China
* "Ursus thibetanus mupinensis" (Heude, 1901), or "Selenarctos thibetanus mupinensis" - in southwestern China
* "Ursus thibetanus thibetanus" Cuvier, 1823, or "Selenarctos thibetanus thibetanus" - in Himalaya and Indochina
* "Ursus thibetanus ussuricus" (Heude, 1901), or "Selenarctos thibetanus ussuricus"Verify source|date=July 2007 - in Southern Siberia, northeastern China and Korean peninsula

ee also

*Bile bear


External links

* [ Hunter becomes hunted: Poacher mauled by endangered bear]
* [ ARKive - images and movies of the Asian black bear]

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