Asiatic Black Bear
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Asiatic Black Bear

The Asiatic Black Bear, also known as Ursus thibetanus, the Tibetan black bear, the Himalayan black bear, or the moon bear, is a medium sized, sharp-clawed, black-colored bear. These have a distinct white or cream "V" marking on the chest, for which it is referred to as moon bear in some areas. Asiatic Black Bears can be found in hilly and mountainous forests and the distribution has a wide range spreading from the east to the west of Asian Continent. These are found in the areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Southern Siberia in Russia, Northeastern China, Taiwan, and Japan.

Asiatic Black Bear’s size differs among males and females, as the weight of males ranges between 110 to 150 kg, while it is between 65 to 90 kg in females. The length ranges from 120 to 180 cm from head to tail, while the tail is short and falls between 6.5 to 10.6 cm, and is barely visible under a long, coarse coat. The head of Asiatic Black Bear is large and rounded. The ears are large while the eyes are small.

All the social and reproductive information is collected on the basis of their behavior in zoos, as a little is known about the wild life behavior. As it is not known for sure that what the breeding interval in Asiatic Black Bear is; however, it is believed that it could be every 2 to 3 years, as the cubs stay with their mothers for about 2 to 3 years. The breeding time is in late summer, i.e., from June to October, and on an average two cubs are born in a litter. Asiatic black bear is able for reproduction at an age of 3 to 4 years, while the total gestation period takes 7 to 8 months.

Asiatic black bears spends around half of the time in the trees preparing platforms upon which the bear rest or feed. These are fairly solitary animals. In some places these may go into hibernation to survive the cold winters, i.e., in a den or a cave, and in some parts these migrate to warmer areas so as to avoid the need for hibernation. The hibernation period is sustained with the fat stored during summers.

Asiatic black bears are primarily nocturnal feeders, and sleep in a tree hole or in a cave during the daytime, and the nocturnal activity increases during autumn. They are powerful swimmers, and also are adept tree-climbers due to their short claws. They walk mostly on the four feet, but during fight they use the forepaws to slap the enemy while standing on the hind legs. They also avoid man, and attacks only in case of protection for the young cubs or wounded.

The territories of Asiatic Black Bear vary greatly, from around 6.4 or 9.7 sq. kms to around 16.4 or 36.5 sq. kms. The territorial range largely depends upon the availability of food, i.e., the denser available supply of food results in the smaller range.

Further ReADing

Asiatic Bear Conservation Action Plan
http://iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/1999-004.pdf

For more information on the bear gall bladder demand see:
http://www.traffic.org/publications/summaries/summary-bear.html

Arkive
http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/mammals/Ursus_thibetanus/more_info.html

Animal Diversity Web
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ursus_thibetanus.html

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