Asian Black Bear | Online Record Book Preview
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Asian Black Bear - Species Detail
||Moon bear, Himalayan black bear
||U.t.gedrosianus: 5-16-86 Iran and Pakistan
Oso negro Asiático, Oso del Himalaya (Sp), Kragenbär, Asiatischer Schwarzbär (G), Ours à collier, Ours Asiatique (F). Sometimes called moon bear, from the crescent-shaped mark on its chest, or Himalayan black bear, but the latter name is misleading because this animal is found in many parts of Asia besides the Himalayas. The former generic name selenarctos is from the Greek selene (moon) and arktos (bear).
DESCRIPTION (male) Head and body length 4-1/2 to 6 feet (1.4 to 1.8 cm). Tail length 2-1/2 to 4 inches (6.4 to 10.2 cm). Weight 240-330 pounds (109-150 kg), sometimes more. Females are smaller, weighing 145-200 pounds (66-91 kg).
A good-sized bear with a longish body, prominent round ears, and a long, black (sometimes reddish-brown) coat. There is white on the chin and a white inverted crescent or "V" on the chest.
BEHAVIOR Cubs (usually two) are born in winter, mostly during February. Cubs stay with the mother until 2-3 years of age, and are sexually mature at about three. Females have been seen with two sets of cubs. Life span in captivity as much as 33 years.
Generally nocturnal, sleeping by day in hollow trees, caves or crevices, but also diurnal when fruits are ripening. Diet includes fruit, buds, small animals and carrion. Sometimes kills domestic livestock up to the size of water buffalos. Walks on all fours, but often stands to fight with its forepaws. Has a fierce disposition, and shikaris fear it more than the larger brown bear. Hibernates during winter in colder areas, but not in warmer areas.
HABITAT Moist deciduous forests, especially in hills and mountains. Ascends as high as 11,800 feet (3,600 m) in summer, descending in winter.
DISTRIBUTION Southeastern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Himalayan region, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Indochina, China, Manchuria, Korea, extreme southeastern Siberia, Japan (on Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu), Taiwan and Hainan.
REMARKS Hunted by stalking in the dense forests, by driving with beaters, or by hunting in orchards when the fruit is ripe.
TAXONOMIC NOTES Seven subspecies have been listed: formosanus (Taiwan and Hainan), gedrosianus (Baluchistan), japonicus (Japan), laniger (Kashmir and Punjab), mupiensis (Shaanxi, Sichuan and Hubei), tibetanus (Nepal eastward through Assam, Myanmar [Burma], and Thailand to Annam), and ussuricus (northern China, Manchuria, southeastern Siberia, and Korea). We do not separate them.
STATUS The Baluchistan black bear (U. t. gedrosianus) is listed on Appendix I of CITES (1977) and as endangered by the USF&WS (1986) and IUCN. All other Asian black bears were placed on Appendix I of CITES in 1979. Persecuted by local people because it sometimes raids crops and attacks domestic animals and occasionally kills humans. Has also declined from destruction of its forest habitat.
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