Asiatic Black Bear

Asiatic Black Bear

Overview
The Asian black bear also known as the moon bear or white-chested bear is a medium-sized species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

, largely adapted for arboreal life, which occurs through much of southern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, northeastern China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the Russian far east
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 and Honshū
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

 and Shikoku
Shikoku
is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...

 islands of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. It is classed by the IUCN as a vulnerable species
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

, mostly due to deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 and active hunting for its body parts. The species is morphologically
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 very similar to some prehistoric bears, and is thought by some scientists to be the ancestor of other extant bear species.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Asiatic Black Bear'
Start a new discussion about 'Asiatic Black Bear'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Asian black bear also known as the moon bear or white-chested bear is a medium-sized species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

, largely adapted for arboreal life, which occurs through much of southern Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, northeastern China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the Russian far east
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 and Honshū
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

 and Shikoku
Shikoku
is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...

 islands of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. It is classed by the IUCN as a vulnerable species
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

, mostly due to deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 and active hunting for its body parts. The species is morphologically
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 very similar to some prehistoric bears, and is thought by some scientists to be the ancestor of other extant bear species. Though largely herbivorous, Asian black bears can be very aggressive toward humans, and have frequently attacked people without provocation. The species was described by Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

 as "the most bizarre of the ursine species."

Local names

  • Abor
    Tani languages
    Tani, Miric, Adi–Galo–Mishing–Nishi , or Abor–Miri–Dafla is a compact family of Tibeto-Burman languages situated at the eastern end of the Himalayas, in an area skirted on four sides by Tibet, Assam, Bhutan, and Burma....

    : Situm
  • Baluch
    Balochi language
    Balochi is a Northwestern Iranian language. It is the principal language of the Baloch of Balochistan, Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. It is also spoken as a second language by some Brahui. It is designated as one of nine official languages of Pakistan.-Vowels:The Balochi vowel...

    : Mam
  • Bengali
    Bengali language
    Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

    : Balak or Bhalluk
  • Bhotia: Thom
  • Burmese
    Burmese language
    The Burmese language is the official language of Burma. Although the constitution officially recognizes it as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar and related sub-ethnic groups of the Bamar, as well as...

    : Wekwon
  • Daphla
    Daphla Hills
    Daphla Hills is a tract of hilly country on the border of Eastern Bengal and Assam occupied by an independent tribe called Daphla. It lies to the north of the Tezpur and North Lakhimpur subdivisions, and is bounded on the west by the Aka Hills and on the east by the Abor Range...

    : Sutum
  • Garo
    Garo language
    Garo is the language of the majority of the people of the Garo Hills in the Indian state of Meghalaya. Garo is also used in Kamrup, Dhubri, Goalpara and the Darrang districts of Assam, India as well as in neighboring Bangladesh...

    : Mapol
  • Hindi: Kala Bhalu (also spelt Bāloo) or Reech (also spelt Rinch) Rikh in many areas of himachal pradesh
  • Japanese
    Japanese language
    is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

    : ツキノワグマ (tsukinowaguma), literally meaning "crescent bear"
  • Kachari
    Kachari language
    Kachari is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by about 59,000 people in Assam, India.Less than 30% of the Kachari people speak the Kachari language as their mother tongue. Most grow up speaking Assamese instead....

    : Miephúr or Musu-bhurma
  • Kannada
    Kannada language
    Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

    : Karadi
  • Kashmiri
    Kashmiri language
    Kashmiri is a language from the Dardic sub-group and it is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir. There are approximately 5,554,496 speakers in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Census of 2001. Most of the 105,000 speakers or so in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir...

    : Seeah harpat
  • Korean
    Korean language
    Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

    : 반달가슴곰 (bandalgaseumgom), literally "half-moon chest bear"
  • Kuki
    Kuki-Chin-Naga
    The Kuki-Chin–Naga languages are a geographic clustering of languages of the Tibeto-Burman family in James Matisoff's classification used by Ethnologue. Their genealogical relationship both to each other and to the rest of Tibeto-Burman is unresolved, but Matisoff lumps them together as a...

    : Viempi
  • Khowar
    Khowar language
    For the ethnic group, see under Chitrali people.Khowar , also known as Chitrali, is a Dardic language spoken by 400,000 people in Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan , and in parts of Upper Swat...

    : Shra Okhchz, (meaning "Black Bear")
  • Mizo
    Mizo language
    The Mizo language is natively spoken by Mizo people in Mizoram, a state in the Indian Union; Chin State of Burma and in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. The language is also known as Lushai , as Lusei people are the first clan who have an external exposure...

    : Savawm or Vawmpui
  • Lepcha
    Lepcha language
    Lepcha language, or Róng language , is a Himalayish language spoken by the Lepcha people in Sikkim and parts of West Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan.-Population:...

    : Sona
  • Manchu
    Manchu language
    Manchu is a Tungusic endangered language spoken in Northeast China; it used to be the language of the Manchu, though now most Manchus speak Mandarin Chinese and there are fewer than 70 native speakers of Manchu out of a total of nearly 10 million ethnic Manchus...

    : najihiyan (ᠨᠠᠵᡳᡥᡳᠶᠠᠰ), mojihiyan(ᠮᠣᠵᡳᡥᡳᠶᠠᠰ), dojihiyan (ᠳᠣᠵᡳᡥᡳᠶᠠᠰ)
  • Manipuri: Sawom
  • Naga
    Naga people
    The term Naga people refers to a conglomeration of several tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India and north-western Burma. The tribes have similar cultures and traditions, and form the majority ethnic group in the Indian state of Nagaland...

    : Húghúm, Thagua, Thega, Chúp, Sevam or Sápá
  • Nepali: Sanár or Hingbong
  • Persian
    Persian language
    Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

    : خرس (khers)
  • Russian
    Russian language
    Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

    : Гимала́йский медве́дь (gimalayskiy medved, meaning "Himalayan bear") or белогрудый медве́дь (belogrudiy medved, meaning "white-chested bear")
  • Standard Chinese
    Standard Chinese
    Standard Chinese, or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

    : 亞洲黑熊 (Yàzhōu hēixióng, meaning "Asian bear")
  • Tamil
    Tamil language
    Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

    : Karadi
  • Telugu
    Telugu language
    Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

    : Elugu Banti
  • Thai
    Thai language
    Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

    : หมีควาย (mǐǐkwaai), literally "water buffalo bear"
  • Urdu: ریچھ (reech)

Taxonomy


Biologically and morphologically, Asian black bears represent the beginning of the arboreal specialisations attained by sloth bear
Sloth Bear
The sloth bear , also known as the labiated bear, is a nocturnal insectivorous species of bear found wild within the Indian subcontinent. The sloth bear evolved from ancestral brown bears during the Pleistocene and shares features found in insect-eating mammals through convergent evolution...

s and sun bear
Sun Bear
The sun bear , sometimes known as the honey bear, is a bear found primarily in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia; North-East India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Southern China, Peninsular Malaysia, and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.-Description:The sun bear...

s, though these traits are not as maximally attained in Asian black bears. Asian black bears have karotypes nearly identical to those of the five other ursine
Ursus (genus)
Ursus is a genus in the family Ursidae that includes the widely distributed brown bears, the polar bear, and black bears. The name is derived from the Latin ursus, meaning bear.-Species and subspecies of Ursus:...

 bears, and, as is typical in the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

, they have 74 chromosomes. From an evolutionary perspective, Asian black bears are the least changed of Old world
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 bears, with certain scientists arguing that it is likely that all other lineages of ursine bear stem from this species. Scientists have proposed that Asian black bears are either a surviving, albeit modified, form of Ursus etruscus
Ursus etruscus
Ursus etruscus is an extinct species of mammal of the family Ursidae , endemic to Europe, Asia and North Africa during the Pliocene through Pleistocene, living from ~5.3 Mya—11,000 years ago, existing for approximately ....

, specifically the early, small variety of the middle Villafranchian or a larger form of Ursus minimus
Ursus minimus
Ursus minimus is an extinct species of bear, endemic to Europe during the Pliocene, living from ~5.3—1.8 Mya, existing for approximately ....

, an extinct species which arose four million years ago. With the exception of the age of the bones, it is often difficult to distinguish the remains of Ursus minimus with those of modern Asian black bears.

Asian black bears are close relatives to American black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

s, with which they share a European common ancestor which is thought to have diverged 3 million years ago, though genetic evidence is inconclusive. Both American and Asiatic species are considered sister taxa, and are more closely related to each other than other species of bear. The earliest American black bear fossils, which were located in Port Kennedy, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, greatly resemble the Asiatic species. The first mtDNA study undertaken on Asian black bears suggested that the species arose after the American black bears, while a second study could not statistically resolve the branching order of sloth bears and the two black species, suggesting that these three species underwent a rapid radiation event. A third study suggested that American black bears and Asian black bears diverged as sister taxa after the sloth bear lineage and before the sun bear lineage. Further investigations on the entire mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence indicate that the divergence of continental and Japanese black bear populations might have occurred when bears crossed the land bridge between the Korean peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

 and Japan 500,000 years ago, which is consistent with paleontological evidence.

Subspecies

Asiatic black bear subspecies
Subspecies name Distribution Description Common name
Ursus thibetanus formosanus
Formosan Black Bear
The Formosan black bear , also known as the white-throated bear, is a subspecies of the Asiatic black bear. Formosan black bears are endemic to Taiwan. In 2001, they were voted the most representative wildlife of Taiwan in a half-year long countrywide voting campaign...

Swinhoe
Robert Swinhoe
Robert Swinhoe FRS , was an English naturalist who worked as a Consul in Formosa. He discovered many Southeast Asian birds and several, such as Swinhoe's Pheasant, are named after him.-Biography:...

, 1864

Taiwan It lacks the thick neck fur of other subspecies Formosan black bear
Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus Blanford
William Thomas Blanford
William Thomas Blanford was an English geologist and naturalist. He is best remembered as the editor of a major series on The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma.-Biography:Blanford was born in London...

, 1877
Southern Baluchistan A small subspecies with relatively short, coarse hair, often reddish-brown rather than black.
Ursus thibetanus japonicus Schlegel
Hermann Schlegel
Hermann Schlegel was a German ornithologist and herpetologist.-Early life and education:Schlegel was born at Altenburg, the son of a brassfounder. His father collected butterflies, which stimulated Schlegel's interest in natural history...

, 1857

Honshū, Kyushu, Hokkaidō and Shikoku A small subspecies weighing between 60–120 kg in the adult male and 40–100 kg in the adult female. The average body length is 110–140 cm. It lacks the thick neck fur of other subspecies, and has a darker coloured snout Japanese black bear
Ursus thibetanus laniger Pocock
Reginald Innes Pocock
Reginald Innes Pocock F.R.S. was a British zoologist.Pocock was born in Clifton, Bristol, the fourth son of Rev. Nicholas Pocock and Edith Prichard. He began showing interest in natural history at St. Edward's School, Oxford. He received tutoring in zoology from Sir Edward Poulton, and was allowed...

, 1932
Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 and Sikkim
Sikkim
Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayan mountains...

Distinguished from U. t. thibetanus by its longer, thicker fur and smaller, whiter chest mark Himalayan black bear
Ursus thibetanus mupinensis Heude
Pierre Marie Heude
Pierre Marie Heude was a French Jesuit missionary and zoologist.Born at Fougères in the Department of Ille-et-Vilaine, Heude became a Jesuit in 1856 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1867. He went to China in 1868...

, 1901
Himalaya and Indochina Light colored, similar to Ursus thibetanus laniger Inchochinese black bear
Ursus thibetanus thibetanus Cuvier, 1823 Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Burma, Mergui
Mergui
Myeik is a city in Tanintharyi Division in Myanmar , located in the extreme south of the country on the coast of an island on the Andaman Sea. the estimated population was over 209,000. The area inland from the city is a major smuggling corridor into Thailand.-History:Myeik was the southernmost...

, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 and Annam
Distinguished from the Himalayan race by its short, thin coat with little to no underwool Tibetan black bear
Ursus thibetanus ussuricus Heude, 1901 Southern Siberia, northeastern China and Korean peninsula The largest subspecies Ussuri black bear

Hybrids


Asian black bears are reproductively compatible with several other bear species, and have on occasion produced hybrid offspring. According to Jack Hanna's Monkeys on the Interstate, a bear captured in Sanford, Florida
Sanford, Florida
Sanford is a city in, and the county seat of, Seminole County, Florida, United States. The population was 38,291 at the 2000 census. As of 2009, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 50,998...

 was thought to have been the offspring of an escaped female Asian black bear and an American black bear, and Scherren's Some notes on hybrid bears published in 1907 mentioned a successful mating between an Asian black bear and a sloth bear. In 1975, within Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

's "Las Delicias" Zoo, a female black bear shared its enclosure with a spectacled bear
Spectacled Bear
The spectacled bear , also known as the Andean bear and locally as ukuko, jukumari or ucumari, is the last remaining short-faced bear and the closest living relative to the Florida spectacled bear and short-faced bears of the Middle Pleistocene to Late Pleistocene age.The spectacled bear is a...

, and produced several hybrid descendants. In 2005, a possible black bear/sun bear hybrid cub was captured in the Mekong River watershed of eastern Cambodia. An Asian black bear/brown bear hybrid, taken from a bile farm, is housed at the Animals Asia Foundation
Animals Asia Foundation
Animals Asia Foundation is a Hong Kong-based charity that seeks to end cruelty to animals in Asia.The AAF was founded in 1998 by Jill Robinson, who felt compelled to create the organisation after learning of the plight of the Asiatic Black Bear known as the “Moon Bear” because of the yellow...

's China Moon Bear Rescue as of 2010.

Description


Asian black bears are similar in general appearance to brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

s, but are more lightly built and more slender limbed. The skulls of Asian black bears are relatively small, but massive, particularly in the lower jaw. Adult males have skulls measuring 311.7–328 mm (12.3–13 in) in length and 199.5–228 mm (7.9–9 in) wide, while females have skulls measuring 291.6–315 mm (11.5–12.4 in) long and 163–173 mm (6.4–6.8 in) wide. Compared to other bears of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Ursus
Ursus (genus)
Ursus is a genus in the family Ursidae that includes the widely distributed brown bears, the polar bear, and black bears. The name is derived from the Latin ursus, meaning bear.-Species and subspecies of Ursus:...

, the projections of the skull are weakly developed; the sagittal crest
Sagittal crest
A sagittal crest is a ridge of bone running lengthwise along the midline of the top of the skull of many mammalian and reptilian skulls, among others....

 is low and short, even in old specimens, and does not exceed more than 19–20% of the total length of the skull, unlike in brown bears, which have sagittal crests comprising up to 41% of the skull's length. Although mostly herbivorous, the jaw structure of Asian black bears is not as specialised for plant eating as that of panda
Panda
Panda or Panda bear most often refers to:*Giant panda, an animal in the Bear familyPanda may also refer to:*Red panda, the only living member in the Ailuridae family-In biology:* Species related to the Giant panda...

s: Asian black bears have much narrower zygomatic arch
Zygomatic arch
The zygomatic arch or cheek bone is formed by the zygomatic process of temporal bone and the temporal process of the zygomatic bone , the two being united by an oblique suture; the tendon of the Temporalis passes medial to the arch to gain insertion into the coronoid process...

es, and the weight ratio of the two pterygoid muscle
Lateral pterygoid muscle
The lateral pterygoid is a muscle of mastication with two heads. It lies superiorly to the medial pterygoid.-Origin and insertion:...

s is also much smaller in Asian black bears. However, the lateral slips of the temporal muscles are thicker and stronger in black bears.

In contrast to polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

s, Asian black bears have powerful upper bodies for climbing tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s, and relatively weak hind legs, which are shorter than in brown bears and American black bears. A black bear with broken hind legs can still climb effectively. They are the most bipedal of all bears, and have been known to walk upright for over a quarter mile. The heel pads on the forefeet are larger than those of most other bear species. Their claws, which are primarily used for climbing and digging, are slightly longer on fore foot (30–45 mm) than back (18–36 mm), and are larger and more hooked than those of the American black bear. The ears are bell shaped, and are proportionately longer than those of large bears, and stick out sideways from the head. The lips and nose are larger and more mobile than those of brown bears.

Adult black bears are slightly smaller than American black bears. They measure 70–100 cm (28–40 in) in shoulder height, and 120–195 cm (47–77 in) in body length. The tail is 11 cm (4.4 inches) long. Mature males typically weigh between 91–150 kg (200–330 lbs), with an average weight of about 113 kg (about 250 lbs). Females weigh about 65–90 kg (143–198 lbs), with large ones up to 140 kg (308 lbs). The famed British sportsman known as the "Old Shekarry" wrote of how a black bear he shot in India probably weighed no less than 363 kg (800 lbs) based on how many people it took to lift its body, though Gary Brown, author of The Great Bear Almanac writes that the largest Asian black bear on record weighed 200 kg (440 lbs). Zoo-kept specimens can weigh up to at least 225 kg (500 lbs). Although their senses are more acute than those of brown bears, their eyesight is poor, and their powers of hearing moderate, the upper limit being 30 kHz.

Behaviour



Asian black bears are diurnal, though they become nocturnal near human habitations. They may live in family groups consisting of two adults and two successive litters of young. They will walk in a procession of largest to smallest. They are good climbers of rocks and trees, and will climb to feed, rest, sun, elude enemies and hibernate. Some older bears may become too heavy to climb. Half of their life is spent in trees: In the Ussuri territory, black bears can spend up to 15% of their time in trees. Asian black bears break branches and twigs to place under themselves when feeding on trees, thus causing many trees in their home ranges to have nest-like structures on their tops. Asian black bears will rest for short periods in nest
Nest
A nest is a place of refuge to hold an animal's eggs or provide a place to live or raise offspring. They are usually made of some organic material such as twigs, grass, and leaves; or may simply be a depression in the ground, or a hole in a tree, rock or building...

s on trees standing fifteen feet or higher. Asian black bears do not hibernate over most of their range
Range (biology)
In biology, the range or distribution of a species is the geographical area within which that species can be found. Within that range, dispersion is variation in local density.The term is often qualified:...

. They may hibernate in their colder, northern ranges, though some bears will simply move to lower elevations. Nearly all pregnant sows hibernate. Black bears prepare their dens for hibernation in mid October, and will sleep from November until March. Their dens can either be dug out hollow trees (sixty feet above ground), caves or holes in the ground, hollow logs, or steep, mountainous and sunny slopes. They may also den in abandoned brown bear dens. Asiatic black bears tend to den at lower elevations and on less steeper slopes than brown bears. Female black bears emerge from dens later than do males, and female black bears with cubs emerge later than barren females. Asian black bears tend to be less mobile than brown bears. With sufficient food, Asian black bears can remain in an area of roughly 1–2 sq km, and sometimes even as little as 0.5–1 sq km.

Asian black bears have a wide range of vocalisations, including grunts, whines, roars, slurping sounds (sometimes made when feeding) and "an appalling row" when wounded, alarmed or angry. They emit loud hisses when issuing warnings or threats, and scream when fighting. When approaching other bears, they produce "tut tut" sounds, thought to be produced by bears snapping their tongue against the roof of their mouth. When courting, they emit clucking sounds.

Reproduction and life cycle


Within Sikhote-Alin, the breeding season of black bears occurs earlier than in brown bears, starting from mid June to mid August. Birth also occurs earlier, in mid January. By October, the uterine horns of pregnant females grow to 15–22 mm. By late December, the embryos weigh 75 grams. Sows generally have their first litter at the age of three years. Pregnant females generally make up 14% of populations. Similar to brown bears, Asian black bears have delayed implantation. Sows usually give birth in caves or hollow trees in winter or early spring after a gestation period of 200–240 days. Cubs weigh 13 ounces at birth, and will begin walking at four days of age, and open their eyes three days later. The skulls of newborn black bear cubs bear great resemblance to those of adult sun bear
Sun Bear
The sun bear , sometimes known as the honey bear, is a bear found primarily in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia; North-East India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Southern China, Peninsular Malaysia, and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.-Description:The sun bear...

s. Litters can consist of 1–4 cubs, with 2 being the average. Cubs have a slow growth rate, reaching only 2.5 kg by May. Black bear cubs will nurse for 104–130 weeks, and become independent at 24–36 months. There is usually a 2–3 year interval period before females produce subsequent litters. The average lifespan in the wild is 25 years, while the oldest Asian black bear in captivity died at the age of 44.

Feeding



Asian black bears are omnivorous, and will feed on insects, beetle
Beetle
Coleoptera is an order of insects commonly called beetles. The word "coleoptera" is from the Greek , koleos, "sheath"; and , pteron, "wing", thus "sheathed wing". Coleoptera contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms...

 larvae
Larvae
In Roman mythology, lemures were shades or spirits of the restless or malignant dead, and are probably cognate with an extended sense of larvae as disturbing or frightening...

, invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s, termites, grubs
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

, carrion
Carrion
Carrion refers to the carcass of a dead animal. Carrion is an important food source for large carnivores and omnivores in most ecosystems. Examples of carrion-eaters include vultures, hawks, eagles, hyenas, Virginia Opossum, Tasmanian Devils, coyotes, Komodo dragons, and burying beetles...

, bee
Bee
Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea, presently classified by the unranked taxon name Anthophila...

s, egg
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

s, garbage
Waste
Waste is unwanted or useless materials. In biology, waste is any of the many unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from living organisms, metabolic waste; such as urea, sweat or feces. Litter is waste which has been disposed of improperly...

, mushrooms, grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

es, fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s, nuts
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

, seeds
SEEDS
SEEDS is a voluntary organisation registered under the Societies Act of India....

, honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, herbs, acorn
Acorn
The acorn, or oak nut, is the nut of the oaks and their close relatives . It usually contains a single seed , enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns vary from 1–6 cm long and 0.8–4 cm broad...

s, cherries, dogwood
Dogwood
The genus Cornus is a group of about 30-60 species of woody plants in the family Cornaceae, commonly known as dogwoods. Most dogwoods are deciduous trees or shrubs, but a few species are nearly herbaceous perennial subshrubs, and a few of the woody species are evergreen...

, oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 nuts and grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

. Though herbivorous to a much greater degree than brown bears, and more carnivorous than American black bears, Asian black bears are not as specialised in their diet as pandas are: while pandas depend on a constant supply of low calorie, yet abundant foodstuffs, black bears are more opportunistic and have opted for a nutritional boom-or-bust economy. They thus gorge themselves on a variety of seasonal high calorie foods, storing the excess calories as fat, and then hibernate during times of scarcity. Black bears will eat pine nuts and acorns of the previous year in the April–May period. In times of scarcity, they enter river valleys to gain access to hazelnuts and insect larvae in rotting logs. From mid-May through late June, they will supplement their diet with green vegetation and fruit. Through July to September, they will climb trees to eat bird cherries, pine cones, vines and grapes. On rare occasions they will eat dead fish during the spawning season, though this constitutes a much lesser portion of their diet than in brown bears. In the 1970s, black bears were reported to kill and eat Hanuman langurs in Nepal. They are capable of killing ungulate
Ungulate
Ungulates are several groups of mammals, most of which use the tips of their toes, usually hoofed, to sustain their whole body weight while moving. They make up several orders of mammals, of which six to eight survive...

s such as muntjac
Muntjac
Muntjac, also known as Barking Deer and Mastreani Deer, are small deer of the genus Muntiacus. Muntjac are the oldest known deer, appearing 15–35 million years ago, with remains found in Miocene deposits in France, Germany and Poland....

s, serow
Serow
Serow may refer to:*Three species of Asian ungulate in the genus Capricornis**Japanese Serow**Mainland Serow**Taiwan Serow* Serow, Iran, a city in Urmia County, West Azarbaijan Province, Iran*Alternative spelling of Serov...

, wild boar and adult water buffalo
Water buffalo
The water buffalo is a domesticated bovid widely kept in Asia, Europe and South America.Water buffalo can also refer to:*Wild water buffalo , the wild ancestor of the domestic water buffalo...

es, which they kill by breaking their necks.

Interspecific predatory relationships



Leopard
Leopard
The leopard , Panthera pardus, is a member of the Felidae family and the smallest of the four "big cats" in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its...

s, and packs
Pack (canine)
Pack is a social group of conspecific canids. Not all species of canids - notably the red fox - form packs. Pack size and social behaviour within packs varies across species.-Species which exhibit pack behavior:...

 of wolves and dholes can be threats to adult black bears, while Eurasian lynx
Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized cat native to European and Siberian forests, South Asia and East Asia. It is also known as the European lynx, common lynx, the northern lynx, and the Siberian or Russian lynx...

es are primarily a threat to cubs. Black bears usually dominate leopards in physical confrontations in heavily vegetated areas, while leopards are uppermost in open areas, though the outcome of such encounters is largely dependent on the size of the individual animals. Amur leopard
Amur Leopard
The Amur leopard , also known as the Far Eastern leopard, Korean leopard, and Manchurian leopard is one of nine recognised subspecies of leopard. It is a wild feline predator native to the mountainous areas of the Russian Far East. It used to inhabit the forests of Korea and China, but it has...

s have been known to prey on cubs less than two years old.

The Asian black bear's range overlaps with that of sloth bear
Sloth Bear
The sloth bear , also known as the labiated bear, is a nocturnal insectivorous species of bear found wild within the Indian subcontinent. The sloth bear evolved from ancestral brown bears during the Pleistocene and shares features found in insect-eating mammals through convergent evolution...

s in central and southern India, sun bear
Sun Bear
The sun bear , sometimes known as the honey bear, is a bear found primarily in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia; North-East India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Southern China, Peninsular Malaysia, and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.-Description:The sun bear...

s in Southeast Asia and brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

s in the southern part of the Russian Far East. Ussuri brown bear
Ussuri Brown Bear
The Ussuri brown bear , also known as the black grizzly is a subspecies of the brown bear found in the Ussuri krai, Sakhalin, the Amur Oblast, northward to the Shantar Islands, Iturup Island, northeastern China, the Korean peninsula, Hokkaidō and Kunashiri Island. This subspecies is thought to be...

s may attack black bears, though Himalayan brown bear
Himalayan Brown Bear
The Himalayan Brown Bear , also known as the Himalayan Red Bear, Isabelline Bear or Dzu-Teh, is a subspecies of the Brown Bear. The bear is thought to be the source of the legend of the Yeti....

s seem to be intimidated by the black species in direct encounters. They will eat the fruit dropped by black bears from trees, as they themselves are too large and cumbersome to climb.

Tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

s will occasionally prey on black bears. With the exception of humans, tigers are the only significant predators of black bears in Manchurian-type forests. Russian hunters frequently find their carcasses with evidence of tiger predation, and their remains occur often in tiger scats. If they manage to escape a tiger, black bears will attempt to rush up trees and wait for the tiger to leave, though some tigers will pretend to leave, and wait for the bear to descend. One Manchurian tiger was reported to have lured an Asiatic black bear by imitating the species' mating call. Tigers can kill black bears weighing up to 60 kg (132.3 lb). Black bears are usually safe from tiger attacks once they reach five years of age. Although black bears prefer to avoid tigers, they can be extremely tenacious when attacked: Jim Corbett
Jim Corbett (hunter)
Edward James "Jim" Corbett was a British hunter, conservationist, author and naturalist, famous for slaying a large number of man-eating tigers and leopards in India....

 observed a fight between a tiger and the largest black bear he had ever seen, which resulted in the bear managing to chase off the tiger, despite having half its nose and scalp torn off. However, black bears are less vulnerable than brown bears to tiger predation, due to their habit of living in hollows or in close set rocks, thus making them harder to pursue. At least one fatal attack on a juvenile bear has been recorded in Jigme Dorji National Park
Jigme Dorji National Park
The Jigme Dorji National Park, named after the late Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, is the second-largest National Park of Bhutan. It occupies almost the entire Gasa District, as well as the northern areas of Thimphu District, Paro District, Punakha, and Wangdue Phodrang Districts...

, as Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

's tiger populations have begun to colonise higher altitude areas. Black bears may steal tiger kills: Jim Corbett twice saw black bears carry off tiger kills when the latter was absent.

Distribution and habitat


Black bears typically inhabit deciduous forests, deserts, mixed forests and thornbrush forests. They rarely live in elevations of more than 12000 feet (3,657.6 m). They usually inhabit elevations of 11480 feet (3,499.1 m) in the Himalayas in the summer, and will climb down to elevations of 4920 feet (1,499.6 m) in winter. They sometimes occur at sea level in Japan.

The fossil record indicates that black bears once ranged as far west as Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, though the species now occurs very patchily throughout its former range, which is now limited to the Asian continent. Black bears occupy a narrow band from southeastern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 eastward through Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, across the foothills of the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 in India, to Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

. With the exception of Malaysia, black bears occur in all countries in mainland Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. They are absent from much of east-central China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, though they have a patchy distribution in the southern and northeastern part of the country. Other population clusters exist in the southern Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

 and into North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

. South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 has a small remnant population. Black bears also occur in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

's southern islands of Honshu
Honshu
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

 and Shikoku
Shikoku
is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, located south of Honshū and east of the island of Kyūshū. Its ancient names include Iyo-no-futana-shima , Iyo-shima , and Futana-shima...

 and on Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and Hainan
Hainan
Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China . Although the province comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, of its land mass is Hainan Island , from which the province takes its name...

.

There is no definitive estimate as to the number of Asiatic black bears: Japan posed estimates of 8–14,000 bears living on Honshū, though the reliability of this is now doubted. Although their reliability is unclear, rangewide estimates of 5–6,000 bears have been presented by Russian biologists. Rough density estimates without corroborating methodology or data have been made in India and Pakistan, resulting in the estimates of 7–9,000 in India and 1,000 in Pakistan. Unsubstantiated estimates from China give varying estimates between 15–46,000, with a government estimate of 28,000.

China


Three subspecies of Asiatic black bear occur in China: the Tibet subspecies (U. thibetanus thibetanus), the Si Chuan subspecies (U. thibetanus mupinensis), and the northeast subspecies (U. thibetanus ussuricus) which is the only subspecies of bear in northeastern China. Asiatic black bears are mainly distributed in the conifer forests in the cold and temperate zones of northeast China, the main areas being the Chang Bai, Zhang Guangcai, Lao Ye, and Lesser Xingan Mountains. Within the Liaoning
Liaoning
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northeast of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "辽" , a name taken from the Liao River that flows through the province. "Níng" means "peace"...

 province, only the 5 counties of Xin Bin, Huan Ren, Ben Xi, Kuan Dian, and Fen Cheng have black bears, which number 100. Within the Jilin
Jilin
Jilin , is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west...

 province, black bears occur mainly in the counties of Hu Chu, Dun Hua, Wan Quing, An Tu, Chang Bai, Fu Song, Jiao He, Hua Dian, Pan Shi, and Shu Lan. In the Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang
For the river known in Mandarin as Heilong Jiang, see Amur River' is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the northeastern part of the country. "Heilongjiang" literally means Black Dragon River, which is the Chinese name for the Amur. The one-character abbreviation is 黑...

 province, Asiatic black bears occur in the counties of Ning An, BaYan, Wu Chag, Tong He, Bao Qing, Fu Yaun, Yin Chun, Tao Shan, Lan Xiang Tie Li, Sun Wu, Ai Hui, De Du, Bei An, and Nen Jiang. This population has a northern boundrary of about 50° N and the southern boundary in Feng Cheng is about 40°30" N.

Russia


In Russia, the black bear's northern range runs from Innokenti Bay on the coast of the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan
The Sea of Japan is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, between the Asian mainland, the Japanese archipelago and Sakhalin. It is bordered by Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific...

 southwest to the elevated areas of Sikhote Alin crossing it at the sources of the Samarga River. At this point, the boundary directs itself to the north, through the middle course of the Khor
Khor River
Khor River is a river in Khabarovsk Krai. It's a right tributary of Ussuri River.It rises on western slope of Northern Sikhote-Alin. Khor River is 453 km long, with a drainage basin of 24 700 km². An urban-type settlement Khor, Khabarovsk Krai is located on river's bank near the mouth....

, Anyui and Khungari rivers, and comes to the shore of the Amur, crossing the it at the level of the mouth of the Gorin. Along the Amur river, the species' presence has been noted as far as 51° N. Lat. From there, the territorial boundary runs southwest of the river's left bank, passing through the northern part of Lake Bolon and the juncture point of the Kur and Tunguska
Tunguska River
There are three rivers in Eastern Siberia that share the name Tunguska . All three are right tributaries of Yenisei.* Upper Tunguska, or Angara* Stony Tunguska River* Lower Tunguska RiverThere is also the Tunguska River in the Russian Far East...

. Black bears are encountered in the Urmi's lower course. Within the Ussuri krai
Ussuri krai
Ussuri krai is an unofficial name for a part of Primorsky Krai and Khabarovsky Krai that consisted of Ussuri and South-Ussuri Okrugs. The name was often used in late Imperial Russia...

, the species is restricted to broad leaved Manchurian type forests.

Legal status


The Asian black bear is listed as a protected animal in China's National Protection Wildlife Law, which stipulates that anyone hunting or catching bears without permits will be subject to severe punishment.

Although the black bear is protected in India due to being listed as Vulnerable in the Red Data Book in Appendix I of CITES in India and in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and its 1991 amendment, it has been difficult to prosecute those accused of poaching black bears due to lack of witnesses and lack of Wildlife Forensic Labs to detect the originality of confiscated animal parts or products. Moreover, due to India's wide stretching boundaries with other nations such as Pakistan, Tibet, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, it is difficult to police such borders, which are often in mountainous terrain.

Five black bear populations, occurring in Kyushu, Shikoku, West-Chugoku, East-Chugoku and Kii areas, were listed as endangered by the Environmental Agency in the Japanese Red Data Book in 1991. Small isolated populations in the Tanzawa and Shimokita areas of mainland Honshū were listed as endangered in 1995. Beyond recognising these populations as endangered, there is still a lack of efficient conservation methods for Japanese black bears.

Black bears occur as an infrequent species in the Red Data Book of Russia, thus falling under special protection and hunting is prohibited. There is currently a strong movement to legalize the hunting of Russian black bears which is supported by most of the local scientific community.

As of January 30, 1989, Taiwan's Formosan black bears have been listed as an endangered species under the Natural and Cultural Heritage Act on, and was later listed as a Conserved Species Category I.

The Vietnamese Government issued Decision 276/QD, 276/1989 which prohibits the hunting and exporting black bears. The Red Book of Vietnam lists Vietnamese black bears as endangered.

Threats


The main habitat threat to Chinese black bears is overcutting of forests, largely due to human populations increasing to over 430,000 in regions where bears are distributed, in the Shaanxi, Ganshu, and Sichuan provinces. 27 forestry enterprises were built in these areas between 1950 and 1985 (excluding the lumbering units
belonging to the county). By the early 1990s, the black bear distribution area was reduced to only one-fifth of the area that existed before the 1940s. Isolated bear populations face environmental and genetic stress in these circumstances. However, one of the most important reasons for their decrease involves overhunting, as black bear paws, gall bladders and cubs have great economic value. Black bear harvests are maintained at a high level due to the harm they cause to crops, orchards and bee farms. During the 1950s and 1960s, 1000 bears were harvested annually in the Heilongjiang Province. However, purchased furs were reduced by 4/5, even by 9/10 yearly in the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Bears have also been declining annually in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Nations Autonomous Prefecture and the Yunnan Province.

Poaching for gall bladders and skin are the main threat faced by black bears in India.

Although the poaching of bears is well known throughout Japan, authorities have done little to remedy the situation. The killing of nuisance bears is practiced year-round, and harvest numbers have been on the increase. Box traps have been widely used since 1970 to capture nuisance bears. It is estimated that the number of shot bears will decrease in time, due to the decline of old traditional hunters and the increase of a younger generation less inclined to hunt. Logging is also considered a threat.

Although black bears have been afforded protection in Russia since 1983, illegal poaching, fuelled by a growing demand for bear parts in the Asian market, is still a major threat to the Russian population. Many workers of Chinese and Korean origin, supposedly employed in the timber industry are actually involved in the illegal trade. Some Russian sailors reportedly purchase bear parts from local hunters to sell them to Japanese and Southeast Asian clients. Russia's rapidly growing timber industry has been a serious threat to the Asian black bear's home range for three decades. The cutting of trees containing cavities deprives black bears of their main source of dens, and forces them to den on the ground or in rocks, thus making them more vulnerable to tigers, brown bears and hunters.

In Taiwan, black bears are not actively pursued, though steel traps set out for wild boars have been responsible for unintentional bear trappings. Timber harvesting has largely stopped being a major threat to Taiwan's black bear population, though a new policy concerning the transfer of ownership of hill land from the government to private interests has the potential to affect some lowland habitat, particularly in the eastern part of the nation. The building of new cross island highways through bear habitat is also potentially threatening.

Vietnamese black bear populations have declined rapidly due to the pressures of human population growth and unstable settlement. Vietnamese forests have been: of the 87,000km2 of natural forests, about 1,000km2 disappear every year. Hunting pressures have also increased with a coinciding decline of environmental awareness.

South Korea remains one of two countries to allow bear bile farming
Bile bear
Bile bear, or battery bear, refers to Asiatic black bears kept in captivity in China and Vietnam to harvest bile, a digestive juice produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. When extracted, the bears’ bile is a valuable commodity for sale as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine...

 to continue legally. As reported in 2009, approximately 1374 bears reside in an estimated 74 bear farms where they are kept for slaughter to fuel the demands of traditional Asian medicine. In sharp contrast, fewer than 20 bears can be found at Jirisan Restoration Center, located in Korea's Jirisan National Park.

Relationships with humans



In folklore and literature


In Japanese culture, the black bear is traditionally associated with the mountain spirit (yama no kami) and is characterised variously as "mountain man" (yamaotoko), "mountain uncle" (yama no ossan), "mountain father" (yama no oyaji), a loving mother and a child. Being a largely solitary creature, the bear is also viewed as "lonely person" (sabishigariya). Black bears feature very little in lowland Japanese folklore, but are prominent in upland Japan, a fact thought to reflect the bear's greater economic value in upland areas. According to the local folklore in Kituarahara-gun in Niigata
Niigata Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Honshū on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The capital is the city of Niigata. The name "Niigata" literally means "new lagoon".- History :...

, the black bear received its white mark after being given a silk-wrapped amulet by yama no kami, which left the mark after being removed.
In Hindu mythology
Hindu mythology
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Nepali and Indian culture...

, the black bear Jambavantha
Jambavantha
Jambavan also known as Jamvanta, Jambavantha, Jambavat, or Jambuvan the King of the Bears, is a sloth bear in Indian epic tradition , immortal to all but his father Vishnu. In the Valmiki Ramayana however, he is described as being a Vanara or monkey...

 (also known as Jambavan or Jamvanta) is believed to have lived from Treta Yuga
Treta Yuga
Treta Yuga is the second out of four yugas, or ages of mankind, in the religion of Hinduism, and follows the Satya Yuga of perfect morality and precedes the Dvapara Yuga. The most famous events in this yuga were Lord Vishnu's fifth, sixth and seventh incarnations as Vamana, Parashurama and...

 to Dvapara Yuga
Dvapara Yuga
Dvapara Yuga or Dwapara Yuga is the third out of four yugas, or ages, described in the scriptures of Hinduism. This yuga comes after Treta Yuga and is followed by Kali Yuga...

. In the epic Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

, Jambavantha assists Rama
Rama
Rama or full name Ramachandra is considered to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu in Hinduism, and a king of Ayodhya in ancient Indian...

 in finding his wife Sita
SITA
SITA is a multinational information technology company specialising in providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry...

 and battle her abductor, Ravana
Ravana
' is the primary antagonist character of the Hindu legend, the Ramayana; who is the great king of Lanka. In the classic text, he is mainly depicted negatively, kidnapping Rama's wife Sita, to claim vengeance on Rama and his brother Lakshmana for having cut off the nose of his sister...

.

Asian black bears are briefly mentioned in Yann Martel
Yann Martel
Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi.-Early life:Martel was born in Salamanca, Spain where his father was posted as a diplomat for the Canadian government. He was raised in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Canada...

's novel The Life of Pi, in which they are described by the protagonist's father as being among the most dangerous animals in his zoo.

Attacks on humans



Though usually shy and cautious animals, Asian black bears are more aggressive toward humans than the brown bears of Eurasia and American black bears. David W. Macdonald
David W. Macdonald
David Whyte Macdonald CBE FRSE is a Scottish zoologist and conservationist. He is the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit , Oxford University, which he founded in 1986...

 theorises that this greater aggression is an adaptation to being sympatric with tigers. According to Brigadier General R.G. Burton:
In response to a chapter on black bears written by Robert Armitage Sterndale
Robert Armitage Sterndale
Sir Robert Armitage Sterndale was a naturalist and statesman. He was governor general of St. Helena in 1897.He wrote several books on natural history including on the mammals of India. He was one of the first editors of the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society...

 in his Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon on how black bears were no more dangerous than other animals in India, a reader responded with a letter to The Asian on May 11, 1880:
A Dr. E. T. Vere of Srinagar
Srinagar
Srinagar is the summer seasonal capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus. It is one of the largest cities in India not to have a Hindu majority. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats...

, Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 wrote of how his hospital received dozens of black bear victims annually. He wrote that when attacking humans black bears will rear up on their hind legs and knock victims over with their paws. They then make one or two bites on an arm or leg, then finish with a snap to the head, this being the most dangerous part of the attack. There are no records of predation on humans by Asiatic black bears in Russia and no conflicts have been documented in Taiwan. However, in India, attacks on humans have been increasing yearly, and have occurred largely in the northwestern and western Himalayan region. In the Chamba District
Chamba district
Chamba is the northwestern district of Himachal Pradesh, in India, with its headquarters in Chamba town. The towns of Dalhousie and Khajjhiar are popular hill stations and vacation spots for the people from the plains of northern India....

 of Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh
Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...

, the number of black bear attacks on humans have gradually increased from 10 in 1988–89 to 21 in 1991–92. Recent bear attacks on humans have been reported from Junbesi and Langtang National Park in Nepal, and occurred in villages as well as in the surrounding forest. Li Guoxing, the second person in history to have received a facial transplant, was a victim of a black bear attack. Nine people were killed by black bears in Japan between 1979–1989, and more recently, in September 2009 it was reported that a black bear attacked a group of tourists, seriously injuring four, while they were waiting at a bus station in the built-up area of Takayama, Gifu in central Japan. Bear attacks have been increasing in Kashmir since the Kashmir conflict
Kashmir conflict
The Kashmir conflict is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, the northwesternmost region of South Asia....

. In November 2009, in the Kulgam district of Indian-administered Kashmir, a black bear attacked four insurgents after discovering them in its den, and killed two of them. The majority of attacks tend to occur when black bears are encountered suddenly, and in close quarters. Because of this, black bears are generally considered more dangerous than sympatric brown bears, which live in more open spaces and are thus less likely to be surprised by approaching humans. They are also likely to attack when protecting food.

Livestock predation and crop damage


In the past, the farmers of the Himalayan lowlands feared black bears more than any other pest, and would erect platforms in the fields, where watchmen would be posted at night and would beat drums to frighten off any interlopers. Some black bears however would grow accustomed to the sound and encroach anyway.

Of one thousand three hundred and seventy five livestock kills examined in Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

, black bears accounted for 8% of attacks. Livestock predation, overall, was greatest in the summer and autumn periods which corresponded with a peak in cropping agriculture; livestock are turned out to pasture and forest during the cropping season, and subsequently, are less well guarded than at other times.

Livestock killed by black bears in Himachal Pradesh, India increased from 29 in 1988–1989 to 45 in 1992–1993.

In the remoter areas of Japan, black bears can be serious crop predators: black bears feed on cultivated bamboo shoots in spring, on plums, watermelons and corn in the summer, and on persimmons, sweet potatoes and rice in the autumn. Japanese black bears are estimated to damage 3,000 bee hive
Bee Hive
The term Bee Hive can refer to:*Bee hive, an alternate spelling of the word beehive*Bee Hive, Alabama, an unincorporated community*The Bee-Hive , a 19th century British newspaper*Bee Hive Records, a jazz record label...

s annually. When feeding on large crops such as watermelon
Watermelon
Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind and fleshy center...

s or pumpkin
Pumpkin
A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae . It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America...

s, black bears will ignore the flesh, and eat the seeds, thus adversely affecting future harvests. Black bears can girdle and kill trees by stripping their bark for the sap. This can cause serious economic problems in Asia's valuable timber forests. In the late 1970s, 400-1,200 hectares of land had been affected by bears bark stripping Japanese conifers. There is evidence that 70 year old conifers (commanding the highest market values) may also have been bark stripped.

Black bears will prey on livestock if their natural food is in poor supply. They have been known to attack bullocks
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, either killing them outright, or eating them alive.

Tameability and trainability


Along with sun bears, Asian black bears are the most typically used species in areas where bears are either used in performances or as pets. Asian black bears have an outstanding learning ability in captivity, and are among the most common species used in circus
Circus
A circus is commonly a travelling company of performers that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists...

 acts. According to Gary Brown:
Black bears are easily tamed, and can be fed with rice, maize, sweet potato, cassava, pumpkin, ripe fruit, animal fat and sweet foods. Keeping captive black bears is popular in China, especially due to the belief that milking the bear's gall bladder leads to quick prosperity. Bears are also popular as pets in Vietnam.

Hunting



According to The great and small game of India, Burma, and Tibet, regarding the hunting of black bears in British India:
The book also describes a second method of black bear hunting involving the beating of small patches of forest, when the bears march out in single file. However, black bears were rarely hunted for sport, because of the poor quality of their fur and the ease by which they could be shot in trees, or stalked, as their hearing was poor.
Although easy to track and shoot, black bears were known by British sportsmen to be extremely dangerous when injured. Brigadier General R.G. Burton wrote of how many sportsmen had been killed by black bears after failing to make direct hits.

Today, black bears are only legally hunted for sport in Japan and Russia. In Russia, 75–100 black bears are legally harvested annually, though 500 a year are reportedly harvested illegally. Russian sport hunting of black bears became legalised in 2004. According to a 2008 article written in The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

, Russia's Slavic Hunting Club offers four day trips with four guaranteed black bear kills for the sum of £16,000. The article indicated that clients receiving permits for black bear hunts included people from Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the USA, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

.
After the introduction of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 in Japan, which prohibited the killing of animals, the Japanese compromised by devising different strategies in hunting bears. Some, such as the inhabitants of the Kiso
Kiso District, Nagano
is a district located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.As of November 1, 2005, the district has an estimated population of 34,759. The total area is 1,546.26 km².Historically, the district was once known as Nishichikuma District until May 1, 1968....

 area in the Nagano Prefecture
Nagano Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region of the island of Honshū. The capital is the city of Nagano.- History :Nagano was formerly known as the province of Shinano...

, prohibited the practise altogether, while others developed rituals in order to placate the spirits of killed bears. In some Japanese hunting communities, black bears lacking the white chest mark are considered sacred. In the Akita Prefecture, bears lacking the mark were known by matagi
Matagi
The matagi are traditional winter hunters of the Tōhoku region of northern Japan, most famously today in the Shirakami-Sanchi forest between Akita and Aomori. They hunt deer and bear, and their culture has much in common with the bear cult of the Ainu...

huntsmen as minaguro (all black) or munaguro (black chested), and were also considered messengers of yama no kami. If such a bear was shot, the huntsman would offer it to yama no kami, and give up hunting from that time on. Similar beliefs were held in Nagano, where the completely black bears were termed nekoguma or cat-bear. Matagi communities believed that killing a bear in the mountains would result in a bad storm, which was linked to the belief that bear spirits could affect weather. The matagi would generally hunt bears in spring or from late autumn to early winter, before they hibernated. In mountain regions, bears were hunted by driving them upland to a waiting hunter who would shoot it. Bear hunting expeditions were preceded by rituals, and could last up to two weeks. After killing the bear, the matagi would pray for the bear's soul. Bear hunts in Japan are often termed kuma taiji, meaning "bear conquest". The word taiji itself is often used in Japanese folklore to describe the slaying of monsters and demons.

Traditionally, the Atayal, Taroko
Truku people
The Truku people are an Indigenous Taiwanese tribe. Taroko is also the name of the area of Taiwan where the Truku tribe resides. The Executive Yuan, Republic of China has officially recognized the Truku since January 15, 2004. The Truku are the 12th aboriginal tribe in Taiwan to receive this...

, and Bunun
Bunun People
The Bunun , also historically known as the Vonum, are a tribe of Taiwanese aborigines and are best known for their sophisticated polyphonic vocal music. They speak the Bunun language. Unlike other aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, the Bunun are widely dispersed across the island. In the year 2000 the...

 tribes of Taiwan consider black bears to be almost human in their behaviours, and thus unjust killing of bears is equated with murder and will cause misfortunes such as disease, death, or crop failure. The Bunun people call black bears Aguman or Duman which means devil. Traditionally, a Bunun hunter who has accidentally trapped a bear has to build a cottage in the mountains and cremate the bear within it. The hunter must stay in the cottage alone, away from the village until the end of the millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

 harvest, as it is believed that the killing of a black bear will cause the millet crop to burn black. In the Tungpu area, black bears are considered animals of the "third category": animals with the most remote relationship to humans and whose activity is restricted outside human settlements. Therefore, when black bears encroach upon human settlements, they are considered ill omens. In this situation, the community can either destroy trespassing bears or settle somewhere else. The Rukai
Rukai
The Rukai are one of Taiwan's aboriginal peoples. They speak the Rukai language and live in the mountains of southern Taiwan. As of the year 2000, the Rukai numbered 12,084 — making up 3% of Taiwan's total indigenous population and, as such, the fifth-largest indigenous group...

 and Paiwan
Paiwan
The Paiwan are an aboriginal tribe of Taiwan. They speak the Paiwan language. In the year 2000 the Paiwan numbered 70,331. This was approximately 17.7% of Taiwan's total indigenous population, making them the third-largest tribal group....

 people are permitted to hunt black bears, though they believe that doing so will curse the hunters involved: Rukai people believe that hunting bears can result in disease. Children are forbidden from eating bear meat, which is itself not permitted to be taken within homes.

Products


Accounts on the quality of the black bear's fur vary. According to Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon, "Their skins are always poor and mangy
Mange
Mange is the common name for a class of persistent contagious skin diseases caused by parasitic mites. Since mites also infect plants, birds, and reptiles, the term "mange," suggesting poor condition of the hairy coat due to the infection, is sometimes reserved only for pathological...

, and generally so greasy
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 that they are very difficult to keep until you can make them over to the dresser", which is corroborated by The great and small game of India, Burma, and Tibet, which states "... the skins are never of any particular value, and in autumn, owing to the masses of yellow fat that are accumulated beneath them, are absolutely useless." The first part of volume II of Mammals of the Soviet Union on the other hand states that Asian black bears yield fur, meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 and fat
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 of greater quality than those of brown bears. In British India, grease was the only practical use for black bear carcasses. Bears living near villages were considered the most ideal, as they were almost invariably fatter than their forest dwelling counterparts.

Asiatic black bears have been hunted for their parts in China since the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. Bile
Bile bear
Bile bear, or battery bear, refers to Asiatic black bears kept in captivity in China and Vietnam to harvest bile, a digestive juice produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. When extracted, the bears’ bile is a valuable commodity for sale as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine...

is most appreciated as it supposedly cures many diseases, effectively treats the accumulation of blood below the skin, and counters toxic effects. Also, bear bone glue is used as a tonic, and bear fat is also a medicine and a tonic. Black bear meat is also edible. Due to their many uses black bears are worth about 20–30 million dong (US$1,500–2,250) each in Vietnam.

External links