CONTENTS

Living OrganismsAnimalia / Craniata / Mammalia / Carnivora / Ursidae / Ursus / Species

Ursus thibetanus - Asiatic black bear (Click photographs/illustrations for full picture & further details)

Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here fr full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption

INDEX - INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY

LIFE STAGES / NATURAL DIET / PHYSIOLOGY

BEHAVIOUR

HABITAT & RANGE

CONSERVATION

Return to top of page

General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • [Genus] arboreus, [Genus] clarki, [Genus] formosanus, [Genus] gedrosianus, [Genus] japonicus, [Genus] laniger, [Genus] leuconyx, [Genus] macneilli, [Genus] melli, [Genus] mupinensis, [Genus] rexi, [Genus] torquatus, [Genus] ussuricus, [Genus] wulsini. (B141)
  • Selenarctos thibetanus (B51, B288.w11, B424)
  • Ursus rexi (B424)
  • Asiatic black bear (E) (W2.15Mar06.w1, B425)
  • Asian black bear (B285.w4)
  • Baluchistan bear (Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus)
  • Belogrudiy medved (Russian) (B442.10.w10)
  • Bhalu (Hindi) (B392.8.w8)
  • Cherniy medved (Russia) (B442.10.w10)
  • Chup (Naga) (B426.8.w8)
  • Dom (Bhotia) (B392.8.w8)
  • Haput (Kashmiri) (B392.8.w8)
  • Formosan black bear (B442.10.w10)
  • Gimalayskiy medved (Russian) (B442.10.w10)
  • Himalayan black bear (E) (W2.15Mar06.w1, B392.8.w8, B425)
  • Hugum (Naga) (B426.8.w8)
  • Mansu bhurma (Assam hills) (B392.8.w8)
  • Mapol (Assam hills) (B392.8.w8)
  • Men-kloit (Mon) (B426.8.w8)
  • Mi-ma (Shan) (B426.8.w8)
  • Moon bear (B285.w4)
  • Mu-thu (Karen) (B426.8.w8)
  • Myin-wun (Burmese) (B426.8.w8)
  • Oso de collar (S) (W2.15Mar06.w1)
  • Oso negro de Asia (S) (W2.15Mar06.w1)
  • Ours ā collier (F) (W2.15Mar06.w1)
  • Ours brun du Pakistan (French)
  • Ours De L'Himalaya (F) (W2.15Mar06.w1)
  • Ours Du Tibet (F) (W2.15Mar06.w1)
  • Ours Noir D'Asie (F) (W2.15Mar06.w1)
  • Reech (Hindi) (B392.8.w8)
  • Rinch (Hindi) (B392.8.w8)
  • Sa-Vum (Chin) (B426.8.w8)
  • Sanar (Nepali) (B392.8.w8)
  • Satun (Assam hills) (B392.8.w8)
  • Sevan (Naga) (B426.8.w8)
  • Sitam (Assam hills) (B392.8.w8)
  • Sopa (Naga) (B426.8.w8)
  • Ta-thu (Karen) (B426.8.w8)
  • Tha-gua (Naga) (B426.8.w8)
  • Tsap (Kachin) (B426.8.w8)
  • Tsukinowa-guma (crescent bear) (Japan) (B442.10.w10c)
  • Vumpi (Chin) (B426.8.w8)
  • Wet woon (Burmese) (B392.8.w8)
  • Wet-wun (Burmese) (B426.8.w8)
  • White-breasted bear (B285.w4)
  • White-chested bear (B442.10.w10)

Names for new-borns / juveniles

Cub

Names for males

Boar

Names for females

Sow

Return to top of page

General Appearance

    "Bears have a big head; a large, heavily build body; short, powerful limbs; a short tail; and small eyes. The ears are small, rounded, and erect." (B147)

    • Bears are strongly built, with a broad, longish head bearing short round ears and relatively small eyes. The lips are free from the gums, and protrusible; the molars are broad and nearly flat. They have a heavy body and a very short tail. They are plantigrade, with five toes, approximately equal in length, to each paw; the paws are wider than those of canids (Canidae - Dogs, foxes (Family)) and the curved, non-retractile claws are longer and stronger. (B144, B288, B424)
  • The Asiatic black bear is usually black with a tan or brown muzzle, white or buff chin and a characteristic white, yellow or buff coloured "V" or crescent on the upper chest. It has long hair and a ruff of longer hair on the neck and shoulders. (B288.w11, B392.8.w8, B424)

Newborn:

  • Cubs are small, with closed eyes at birth. (B424, B425)

Similar Species

  • Distinguished from Helarctos malayanus - Sun bear by the longer fur, greater size and relatively longer ears, also the white area on the muzzle rarely reaches the eyes (whereas in the sun bear it is generally to past the eyes), and the white mark on the upper chest is generally "V" rather than "U" shaped. (B424)
  • Distinguished from Ursus arctos - Brown bear by the lack of a shoulder hump, the presence of a creamy "V" from the sternum to the axillae, longer hairs fringing the cheeks and down the sides of the neck, and on the ears. The claws of the forefeet are shorter, more curved and black (rather than whitish to horn-colour). This bear is also generally shorter than Ursus arctos and has shorter legs. (B425)
  • Distinguished from Melursus ursinus - Sloth bear by its more compact build, smoother shorter coat and black claws. (B392.8.w8) The sloth bear also has a much whiter muzzle. Both have a ruff of fur around their neck. (V.w98)
  • Distinguished from Ursus americanus - American black bear [not sympatric] in captivity by its smaller size, the white crescent on the chest and the longer hair forming a ruff on the neck and shoulders. (B288.w11)

Sexual Dimorphism

  • Males are generally larger than females. (B425)

Return to top of page

References

Species Authors & Referees

Editor: Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)

Referee: David L. Garshelis (V.w98)

ORGANISATIONS

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

Return to top of page

Husbandry Information

Notes

  • Bears are large, strong mammals, adapted to climbing trees and/or difficult terrain, and with claws adapted for climbing and/or digging. Their ability to climb and to claw open trees should be remembered in designing enclosures. 
  • Bears are intelligent, curious and adaptable. They are predominantly diurnal, as seen in undisturbed habitats in the wild, and are mainly solitary. 
  • The behavioural, social and psychological requirements of bears must be taken into consideration in enclosure design and husbandry.

Management Techniques

Return to top of page

Appearance / Morphology

Measurement & Weight

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

LENGTH
Adult: 
Head and body length of males is about 1.2 - 1.8 m (4 ft to 6ft); a very large male reached 1.95 m (6 ft 5 inches). Females are smaller, to 1.5 m (five ft) or perhaps 1.7 m (5ft 6 ins).
Newborns: Two cubs a few days old measured 26.5 cm.

HEIGHT
Adults and sub-adults: Shoulder height 0.7 - 1.0 m (2.3 - 3.3 ft).
Juveniles: --

WEIGHT
Adult: 
Males are generally larger than females and are particularly heavy in autumn (fall). Males may weigh 60 to 200 kg (132 - 441 lb) with the highest weights being autumn weights; they average about 90 - 115 kg (200 - 250 lb). Females may weigh 40 - 140 kg (88 - 309 lb) but 65 - 90 kg is probably usual.
Newborns: Newborn cubs may weigh 300 - 450 g.

GROWTH RATE: Cubs in zoos reached on average 3.5 kg at three months. 

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Appearance-Morphology- Measurement and Weight (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Head and Neck

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

 Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with captionClick here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full-page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

GENERAL HEAD STRUCTURE:
Adult:
Bears have a large head. The ears of this bear are round, set widely apart, and have a fringe of long hairs. As in other bears, the vibrissae are vestigial. The skull is flatter and narrower than in Helarctos malayanus - Sun bear and the tympanic bullae are flat.
Newborn: --

DENTITION: 
Adult:
Bears have unspecialised incisors, long sturdy canine teeth and broad, flat molars. The Asiatic black bear's incisors and canines are smaller than in Helarctos malayanus - Sun bear; the cheekteeth are less crowded, the molars are longer and generally more premolars are present. The dental formula is i 3/3 c 1/1 p 4/4 m 2/3.

EYES:
Adult:
Bears have relatively small eyes and a well-developed nictitating membrane (third eyelid). 
Newborn:
Cubs are blind at birth, the eyes closed.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Appearance-Morphology- Head and Neck (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Legs, Spine and Tracks

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Bears have thick legs and short broad paws each with five toes. The claws are long, curved and non-retractile. 
  • The Asiatic black bear has hairless soles but a fringe of hairs between the pads of the digits and the plantar pad. 
  • The forepaws are very powerful, and turned inwards when the bear is walking. The black claws are relatively short and curved, adapted for climbing.
  • The hind foot is 175 - 195 mm long.
  • Bears have a caudal extension to the shoulder blade (scapula), called the post-scapular fossa, from which the subscapularis minor muscle arises; this is used in climbing, pulling the bear's body up.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Appearance-Morphology- Legs, Spine and Tracks (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Tail

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Bears have a short tail; this may be hidden in the fur. The Asiatic black bear's tail is only 65 - 100 mm long.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Appearance-Morphology-Tail (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Skin / Coat / Pelage

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

Adult: Asiatic black bears have black fur with a white to creamy "V" or crescent on the chest. The muzzle is tan, brown or whitish, to below the eyes, and the chin buff or white. There are longer hairs fringing the cheeks and down the sides of the neck. The coat of individuals from warmer areas (e.g. Burma, Malay) is shorter and thinner than those from more northerly, temperate latitudes; individuals from the Himalayas have dense under-wool while those from tropical areas have little or no under-wool. In Japan, hair loss during the moult occurs mainly in July; new hair starts to grow after hibernation, in May, and finishes before the onset of the next hibernation. 

Adult Colour variations: The coat may be reddish brown or rich brown. A light-coloured variety, called the golden moon bear, is known from Cambodia and Laos, and some individuals intermediate between golden and black are seen there also. The extent of the chest "V" is variable.

Newborn/Juvenile: Cubs may have black or light-cinnamon fur.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Appearance- Morphology- Skin-Coat-Pelage (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Detailed Anatomy Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
Further information is available within this section on 
  • Bears do not have any major anatomical specialisations.

Further information is available within this section on the male and female reproductive organs, gastrointestinal system and urinary system. 

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Detailed Anatomy Notes (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Life Stages / Natural Diet / Physiology

Life Stages

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

BREEDING SEASON: The mating season may be late spring to summer or autumn.

OESTRUS/OVULATION: Ovulation may be induced by copulation or by other stimulation from male bears.

GESTATION/PREGNANCY: The gestation length appears to be variable from six to eight months, possibly being shorter in tropical areas than in colder areas.

PARTURITION/BIRTH: Births occur in winter or early spring (December to March) in temperate regions. Information on birth dates is not available for most tropical parts of the range. In North American zoos, births occur in January.

NEONATAL/DEVELOPMENT: Asiatic black bear cubs are blind at birth. Zoo data indicates that the eyes open at about 20-30 days, cubs first accompany their dam out the nest at 60-70 days and start eating solid food at 110 - 120 days.

LITTER SIZE: Asiatic black bears usually have two cubs, less often one and rarely three.

TIME BETWEEN LITTERS / LITTERS PER YEAR: Asiatic black bears may produce one litter of cubs every other year, or less often when in poorer condition.

LACTATION / MILK PRODUCTION: Cubs are weaned in late summer or early autumn of their first year.

SEXUAL MATURITY: Sexual maturity is stated to be at about three years old; females first give birth when four years old. Males appear to become sexually mature at 3-4 years, based on changing testis size. Older males are more likely to have the opportunity to breed than are younger, lighter males, at least in captivity under high density conditions.

MALE SEASONAL VARIATION: Male black bears in Japan were shown to have clear seasonal changes in spermatogenesis, with active testes in summer and degeneration in autumn.

LONGEVITY / MORTALITY: Black bears may reach their mid-20s (at least) in the wild, but into their 30s, even 37 years, in zoos.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Life Stages (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Natural Diet

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

NATURAL DIET: 

  • Asiatic black bears eat mainly vegetable matter, but they are omnivorous and their diet also includes honey, fungi, invertebrates (insects such as bees, wasps and ants, small crustaceans), small vertebrates and larger vertebrates (killed or eaten as carrion).
  • Different plants are important in different geographical areas.
  • In spring, grasses, sedges, herbs, buds, leaves and bamboo shoots are important, and nuts left from the previous autumn also may be eaten. 
  • In summer, berries are important. This is also the season when more insects are eaten.
  • In autumn, nuts are the main food; mast such as acorns or beechnuts may be very important before denning.
  • Cultivated seed and fruit crops such as maize, sorghum, dates, pineapple etc. are also eaten.

QUANTITY EATEN: --

STUDY METHODS: Scat analysis, also feeding signs, observation and reports from local residents. Measurements of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes are also used.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Natural Diet (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Hibernation / Aestivation

EDITORIAL SUMMARY The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • The hibernation period of these bears varies with location. 
  • In Japan and Siberia, they den from November to April or early May (late May for some females with cubs in the Russian Far East), for five to six months; in Sichuan, central China, a study found that these bears hibernated late November to early April.
  • In tropical and subtropical areas (e.g. Taiwan), they do not hibernate at all.
  • In the Himalayas, they may become torpid but emerge occasionally and some descend to lower altitudes in winter and do not hibernate.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Hibernation - Aestivation (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Haematology / Biochemistry

EDITORIAL SUMMARY The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

HAEMATOLOGY:

BIOCHEMISTRY:

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Literature Reports: Asiatic black bear - Ursus thibetanus - Haematology - Biochemistry Notes

Return to top of page

Detailed Physiology Notes
(Summary information provided for pertinent species-specific data cross-referenced in Wildpro)

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

METABOLISM (TEMPERATURE): The normal rectal temperature of adult bears is 37.5 - 38.3 °C (99.6 - 101.0 °F).

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (RESPIRATION): The normal respiratory rate of bears is 15 - 30 breaths per minute (the higher rates have been recorded in hot weather). 

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM (PULSE/HEART RATE): The normal heart rate of bears is 60 - 90 beats per minute (the higher rates are found in cubs).

HAEMATOLOGY / BIOCHEMISTRY: Values are similar to those of the domestic dog.

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM (FAECES AND GUT MOTILITY): --

URINARY SYSTEM (URINE): --

CHROMOSOMES: 2n = 74 Chromosomes

MUSCULO-SKELETAL SYSTEM: --

SPECIAL SENSES AND VOCALISATIONS: 

  • The most important sense is that of smell, which is acute. Vision and hearing are moderate and this bear has an upper limit of hearing at 30 kHz. 
  • These bears produce a range of vocalisations including a loud hissing exhalation as a warning or threat, grunts, whines, slurping sounds (sometimes made when feeding) and a "tut tut" which may be used as one bear approaches another bear. Loud noises may be made when these bears are alarmed, angry or wounded, such as screams while fighting.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Detailed Physiology Notes (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Asiatic black bears climb trees to reach fruit and beehives; they will break branches to bring fruit into reach (particularly acorns), and pile the broken branches in a crotch of the tree, forming a platform or "nest". They can tear through several inches of wood to get at honey, and will dig up wasp nests. They spit out the shells of some nuts, such as large acorns.
  • They sometimes raid maize fields and orchards.
  • These bears scavenge meat but also can be active predators, killing animals such as sheep, goats, Muntiacus reevesi - Chinese muntjac, Naemorhedus swinhoei - Serow and even up to adult buffalo by breaking their necks.

Further information on diet is provided in Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus - Natural Diet (Literature Reports)

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Feeding Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Parental Behaviour

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • The female gives birth to her cubs in a cave, hollow tree or thick undergrowth providing shelter. Cubs remain with their mother for a year or more - through two summers and one winter or occasionally two summers and two winters.

Further information on reproduction is provided in Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Life Stages (Literature Reports)

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Parental Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Home ranges of Asiatic black bears may vary from as little as 0.5 - 2.0 kmē in some areas where food is abundant to as large as 32 - 123 kmē in the Northern Japan Alps.
  • Population density estimates vary, for example densities have been estimated at 0.11 - 0.18 bears per square kilometre in north-eastern Japan, 0.1 - 1.3 per square kilometre in Sichuan in central China, 1.1 - 4.0 per 10 kmē in Russia and as low as one bear per 150 - 200 kmē in parts of China. [Note: these estimates may not be reliable]
  • Bears may be followed by using radio-collars (conventional VHF, and GPS).
  • Asiatic black bears are solitary except for mothers with cubs and pairs in the breeding season. When fighting, these bears strike rapidly with the fore paws.
  • Asiatic black bears can predate a variety of wild and domestic ungulates. They may attack humans when startled or provoked.
  • Predators on Asiatic black bears include tigers Panthera tigris and Ursus arctos - Brown bear; leopards (Panthera pardus) and wolves (Canis lupus - Wolf) also are potential predators of cubs.
  • Asiatic black bears use day beds on the ground, tree hollows, caves. Some ground nests may be used as places from which to attack passing ungulates. Platforms of broken braches in trees are used while feeding and for resting. In winter, dens are used for hibernation.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Social Behaviour - Territoriality - Predation - Learning (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Sexual Behaviour

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • The mating period may last 12 - 35 days, with oestrous and non-oestrous periods within this.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Sexual Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Activity Patterns, Self-grooming and Navigation

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

ACTIVITY PATTERNS:

  • Asiatic black bears are quite arboreal, since much of their food is found in trees. When frightened, they can rapidly descended from trees by sliding down tail first.
  • These bears usually walk on all fours, but stand on their hind legs to attack. Their walking gait is shuffling and their gallop appears clumsy but can be quite fast.
  • They are good swimmers.

SELF-GROOMING: --

CIRCADIAN RHYTHM:

  • Some studies have indicated that these bears are nocturnal, others that they are active during the day. To some extent these varying opinions derive from anecdotal information. Data from radiocollared bears in broadleaved forests indicate they are mainly diurnal, except in autumn (fall) when feeding on acorns, when they are active both during the day and at night.

SPEED OF MOVEMENT: --

NAVIGATION: --

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Activity Patterns, Grooming and Navigation Behaviour (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Habitat and Range

General Habitat Type

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Asiatic black bears use a variety of habitats, including alpine habitats, evergreen coniferous forest, broad-leaved forest, mixed broad-leaved/coniferous forests, tropical pine forests, sub-tropical forests and tropical rain forests.
  • In mountainous areas, these bears may be found at higher elevations in summer but descend to lower areas in autumn and winter.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - General Habitat Type (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Nests / Burrows / Shelters

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Day beds are found in tree hollows, caves or rock crevices; caves may be dug or natural cavities or crevices enlarged. 
  • Day beds are also built by bears from vegetation. In Japan, bears created beds in dwarf bamboo thickets; these were described as springy mattresses about 90 cm long and 30 - 40 cm thick, made from uncut bamboo stems and leaves. In Taiwan, bowl-shaped ground nests were made from grass and were about 110 cm diameter on the outside, 60 cm on the inside and 30 cm deep; it was suggested these might be used as cover for bears to prey on small ungulates.
  • In trees, a "bear shelf" (kuma dama in Japanese) may be created, like a crude bird nest, from branches broken while the bear feeds. These may be used by the bear while feeding and to rest on.
  • Dens used for hibernation include hollow trees, caves, crevices under rocks, and nests on the ground lined with vegetation such as conifer boughs.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Nests - Burrows - Shelters (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Southern and eastern Asia, from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan eastward through northeastern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), southern China, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan, Hainan and further north in northeastern China, far eastern Russia, North and South Korea and Japan (not Hokkaido). 

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

Maps of their range are provided in B442 - Bears. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan - Chapter 10 [full text provided]

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Distribution & Movement (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Conservation

Species variation

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.
  • Suggested subspecies include Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus (Baluchistan bear) in southern Pakistan and possibly adjacent Iran, Ursus thibetanus japonicus (Japanese black bear) in Japan and Ursus thibetanus formosus (Formosan black bear) in Taiwan.

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Species Variation (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page

Conservation Status

EDITORIAL SUMMARY

The following editorial comment summarises detailed information given within the LITERATURE REPORTS. Links to the LITERATURE REPORTS are provided at the bottom of this box.

WILD POPULATION - IMPORTANCE: Wild populations of black bears are generally declining. 

GENERAL LEGISLATION: Asiatic black bears are generally named in the Red Books of the range states and have variable legal protection, but this is not always well enforced.

CITES LISTING: Appendix I.

RED-DATA LIST STATUS: Vulnerable.

THREATS:

  • The Asiatic black bear is greatly threatened by poaching for gallbladders, meat and paws. 
  • Habitat loss, and encroachment of human habitation and agriculture, are large threats in many areas.

PEST STATUS / PEST POPULATIONS: In India, there are some problems with these bears killing livestock. In Japan, there are problems with bears raiding a variety of crops, fish farms, apiaries etc., and damaging conifer plantations.

CAPTIVE POPULATIONS: There are about 130 Asiatic black bears listed in ISIS zoos, with more than 200 in collections belonging to regional zoo associations, plus more than 100 in Indian zoos and a further 40 or more in zoos or kept as pets in Taiwan. Additionally, there are more than 7,000 bears in bear farms in China.

TRADE AND USE: Bile from black bears is prized as a medicine over much of Asia. Other parts of the bear (meat, skin, bone, fat, bear feet) are valued variably in different countries.

For more information see: B442: Bears. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan - full text provided

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

CLICK THE LINKS FOR Literature Reports Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus - Conservation Status (Literature Reports)

Return to top of page