Title : Asiatic Black Bear Previous | Next
Asian Black Bears are found in the forests of central and eastern Asia, mainly dwelling in caves or hollow trees, where they sleep all day. The Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is also known as the moon bear or white-chested bear, seen across much of the Himalayas and the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Korea, northeastern China, the Russian far east and the Honshu and Shikoku islands of Japan.
The Asiatic Black Bear is a medium sized bear with a body length of 140 to 165 centimeters and most weigh between 90 and 150 kg. They are normally black in color, with lighter muzzles and a distinct V-shaped patch of cream or white colored fur on the chest. This bear has a heavy, stocky body and the ears are large and set far apart.
Asiatic black bears live predominantly in forested areas, especially in hills and mountainous areas. In summer, they have been reported at altitudes over 3,000 meters (9,900 feet), descending to lower elevations during winter. Apparently, they den for winter sleep in the northern parts of their range. It has been suggested that in the southern limits of their range, where it is quite hot, they do not undergo winter sleep, but this has not been confirmed.
Asian black bears are outstanding tree climbers and are generally found around the mountain regions in Asia. Asiatic Black Bear likes to eat meat, but they will also eat plants, berries, insects, fruit and honey. Overall, the Asiatic Black Bear will eat anything that is edible. In autumn, they frequent nut-producing trees where they eat in self-constructed leaf and branch nests or platforms.
Asian black bears are still hunted throughout their Asian habitat by humans, for fur and medicinal purposes. Asian black bears are feared by most humans due to their aggressive nature, meaning that little effort is being made to conserve them as a species. Sadly, if this rate of hunting continues, the Asian black bear will soon become extinct.
Female Asiatic Black bears become sexually mature at about 4 years of age. While little is known about these bears in the wild, it is believed breeding takes place over a one to two day period in late April to early June. In captivity, cubs are born in December or January. Cubs are weaned at about six months of age but may remain with the mother for up to three years.
The Asiatic Black Bear has been hunted for centuries for its skin, paws, and the gall bladder. The bears are captured and milked for bile that is then used in Traditional Asian Medicine. Recent deforestation across the Asian continent is another major threat to the survival of the species. Logging, development, and the ever- encroaching human population continues to cause the clearing of bear habitat.
The Asian black bear is often referred to as the moon bear, mainly due to the crescent-shaped white patch on the Asian black bears chest. The Asian black bear also has sharp-claws which the Asian black bear uses to assist the Asian black bear in climbing trees to reach fruit and berries.
Unlike American black bears, Asiatic black bears are notoriously aggressive towards humans and there are numerous records of human attacks and killings. This is mainly due to the fact that they are more likely to come into contact with humans, and they will often attack if surprised.