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Asiatic Black Bear Facts

The Asian black bears, also called moon bears, are medium-sized bears native to Asia. It is threatened by deforestation and poaching for its body parts.

They have a large rounded head, small eyes, large ears, strong legs and broad paws, a short tail, and a long, coarse coat.

They can be found in steep mountains, deciduous forests, mixed forests, thorn brush forests, moist forests, and areas of thick vegetation in Southeast Asia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Asiatic Black Bear Facts for Kids

  • They live for 25-30 years in the wild
  • Asiatic black bears are omnivorous
  • Their scientific name is Ursus thibetanus
  • Adult males can weigh from 220 to 440 pounds
  • They are also excellent swimmers
  • Asiatic black bears live in forested and mountainous areas

Physical Characteristics

They have black fur, a light brown muzzle, and a distinct white patch on the chest, which is sometimes V-shaped. Its tail is short, around 11 cm (4.3 in) long.

They are similar in general build to brown bears but are more lightly built and more slender-limbed. They have relatively small skulls but are massive, particularly in the lower jaw.

Classification and Evolution

The Asian black bear is a medium to large-sized bear that lives in the deciduous forests of Asia.

It is considered to be an endangered species throughout its native range due to deforestation and hunting for its body parts.

Anatomy and Appearance

Asiatic Black Bears have strong and sturdy bodies, large heads, thick-set legs, and a ruff of longer fur around their necks that help to make them appear larger than they actually are. They have a keen sense of smell and a long snout.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

Distribution and Habitat

Asiatic Black Bears were once found throughout Europe and Asia but are now confined to Central and Southern Asia and South-East Asia. They prefer deciduous forests and brushland at lower altitudes but are being pushed into small and isolated pockets of vegetation at higher altitudes.

Behavior and Lifestyle

They are solitary animals that only come together to mate or when fighting over territories.

They are diurnal, nocturnal near human habitations, good climbers, and spend half of their life in trees. They will rest for short periods in nests on trees standing fifteen feet or higher.

They hibernate in hollow trees, caves, hollow logs, steep, mountainous, and sunny slopes, or in abandoned brown bear dens.

Reproduction and Life Cycles

Asiatic Black Bears can breed when they are between 4 and 5 years old and give birth to 1 to 4 cubs in their winter den between March and April. These cubs are born hairless and rely heavily on their mother for warmth and nutrition.

These species of bear breed earlier than brown bears, from mid-June to mid-August, and give birth in caves or hollow trees in winter or early spring.

Baby cubs have a slow growth rate, reaching only 2.5 kg by May, and become independent at 24 – 36 months.

Diet and Prey

They hibernate and eat seasonal high-calorie foods, storing excess calories as fat.

They will eat

  • Pine nuts
  • Acorns
  • Hazelnuts
  • Insect larvae
  • Rotting logs
  • Green vegetation
  • Fruit

Predators and Threats

The Asiatic Black Bear is very large and ferocious and has few natural predators throughout its historically vast natural range.

People are the biggest threat to the Asiatic Black Bear population as they are severely affected by deforestation and the hunting of them their body parts.

They are facing a decreasing population due to overcutting of forests, and overhunting for their paws, gall bladders, and cubs. Their numbers have also been declining annually in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Nations Autonomous Prefecture and the Yunnan Province.

Attacks on humans

They are more aggressive towards humans than brown bears and American black bears.