Asian Black Bear

These bears still occur in areas close to major centres of human habitation, as in Japan, but forest clearance and hunting threatens their survival.

ANIMAL FACTS

This species is known by various names, including the Tibetan black bear and the moon bear, because of its chest marking. They have been heavily hunted in recent years for their gall bladders, which are highly sought-after in Chinese medicine. The Asian Black Bears can be very aggressive towards people, and this hampers conservation efforts. In the autumn they feed on nuts in the forests, which help them to gain weight for the winter. The Asian Black Bears are nocturnal in their habits.

VITAL STATISTICS

Distribution: Ranges westwards from Iran and Iraq via the Himalayas to Malaysia. A separate population occurs further north in eastern Asia, in eastern Russia, Japan and Korea.

Weight: 50 - 200 kg (110 - 440 lb); males are heavier.

Length: 130 - 190 cm (51 - 75 in); about 100cm (39 in) tall.

Maturity: 3 - 4 years.

Gestation Period: 186 - 248 days; embryonic development begins about 5 months after fertilization.

Breeding: 2 - 3; weaning occurs from 3.5 months; family stays together for 2 years.

Food: Omnivorous, eating small mammals, carrion, acorns, nuts and vegetable matter.

Lifespan: 15 - 20 years; 25 in captivity.

Colouration

The fur is black, with a distinctive, pale, crescentshaped marking across the chest.

Fur length

The fur is longest over the shoulders and under the throat.

Strength

It is not uncommon for bears to break branches as they climb on them.

Nests

The Asian Black Bears may build nests 40 m (131 ft) up in a tree.

GROWING UP

Cubs are blind and completely helpless at birth. Born in a den during late winter, they emerge in the spring.

Gallery of Asian Black Bear