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Ursus Thibetanus

dnaoodb: professional biology database , biology encyclopedia

in biology, The Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus), also known as the Asiatic black bear, Himalayan Black Bear,moon bear and white-chested bear, It is a carnivorous animal of the family Ursidae. There are 7 subspecies in total. Female body length is 110-150 cm, male body length is 120-189 cm; tail length is less than 12 cm; shoulder height is 70-100 cm. Females weigh 40-140 kg, males weigh 60-200 kg. The body hair is black and long, the chin is white, and there is a "V" shaped white spot on the chest. The head is round, the ears are big, the eyes are small, the snout is short and pointed, the tip of the nose is exposed, the pads of the feet are thick, the front and rear feet have 5 toes, and the claws are sharp and cannot be retracted. The body is stout.

It inhabits mountain forests and is usually active at night. It sleeps in tree holes or rock caves during the day. It is good at climbing trees and swimming; it can walk upright. It has poor vision, sensitive sense of smell and hearing; its food habits are mixed, feeding on plant leaves, buds, fruits, seeds, and sometimes insects, bird eggs and small mammals. Black bears in the north have the habit of hibernating. They hibernate in their caves throughout the winter, unable to eat or move, and are in a semi-sleep state. They come out of their caves in March-April of the following year. Mating in summer, the gestation period is 7 months, and each litter has 1-3 offspring. Distributed in forest areas in eastern Eurasia, China and Japan.

Scientific classification

Ursus Thibetanus,Asian black bear,Asiatic black bear,moon bear,white-chested bear,Himalayan Black Bear
Life span:
25 to 30 years
x = 37
Protection level:
Named by and Year:
G. Baron Cuvier, 1823
Subphylum Vertebrata
Class Mammalia
Ursus Thibetanus
Mode Of Reproduction:
Reproductive Form:
Sexual Reproduction


The female black bear is 110-150 cm long, and the male is 120-180 cm long; the tail length is less than 12 cm; the shoulder height is 70-100 cm. Females weigh 65-150 kg and males weigh 60-200 kg. The body is stout, the head is broad and round, and the snout is short. The tip of the nose is exposed; the eyes are small; the ears are about 10 to 12 cm long. Except for an obvious inverted herringbone white or yellow spot on the chest, the whole body is covered with glossy jet black hair; the nose and face are brown or ocher. The hair on the back of the cheek and on both sides of the neck is very long, forming two semicircular hair clumps, with the hair on the chest being the shortest; the wrist pads of the forefoot are well developed and connected to the palm pads; the toes of the front and rear limbs are also very long. The shoulders are relatively flat and the hips are slightly larger than the shoulders. The tail is very short, about 7 to 8 cm long. The limbs are thick and strong, with five toes on both the front and rear limbs. The claws are curved and have black horns. The front claws are longer than the rear claws. Both the front and rear feet are thick. The wrist pads of the fore feet are wide and connected to the palm pads. There are short brown-black and gray-black hairs between the palm pads and toe pads. The plantar pads of the hind feet are wide and thick, and there are also brown-black and gray-black hairs between the plantar pads and toe pads. of short hair.

The body hair is black and shiny. Due to the regional differences between the east and west, the length of the hair is somewhat different. The black bears in the east have shorter fur, with back fur 4 to 5 cm long, and neck side fur 6 to 10 cm long; black bears in the southwest have longer fur, back fur 4 to 6 cm long, and neck side fur 6 to 14 cm long. The hair on the black bear's chest is short, generally no more than 4 centimeters. The fur is shed once a year. The shedding of old hair and the growth of new hair are a continuous and slow process. Some black bears have fur that has no velvet, and some have fur that goes into winter with velvet.

The coat color of black bears in the east and west is glossy jet black. The hair on the nose is dark brown or tan; there are often sparse white hairs on the eyebrows. The chest is made of white, light yellow, and ocher short hairs forming a "V" or "U" shape. Some black bears have small chest spots, and most of them are yellow and ocher. The base of the hair on the back is gray and black, the tips of the hair are dark black, and the down is also gray and black. The fur of the larvae is dark brown, the head is slightly lighter in color, brown with gray and black, the fur of the limbs is darker, and the white spots on the chest are extremely obvious.

The skull of a black bear is slightly oblong, shorter in front and longer in back than that of a brown bear. The snout is short, and the length of the nasal bone is approximately equal to the width of the skull in front of the first upper molar; the distance from the front edge of the orbit to the front edge of the alveolar edge of the central incisor is less than the distance between the left and right postorbital processes, and the frontal bone is gentle, with no central depression. The parietal bones are broad; even in older individuals they do not reach one-third of the parietal bones; the mastoid processes are well developed, making the back of the skull appear wide. The zygomatic arch is weak. The palatine bone extends behind the back molars. The tympanum is flat. The mandible is short, with the lower molars located behind the front edge of the eye socket.

Distribution and habitat

Distributed in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Black bears are forest animals with a wide range of activities. In addition to being affected by the abundance of food resources, the choice of habitat is also a key factor in human interference, including road density, distance from villages, recreational pressure, etc. Black bears range from tropical rainforests at a low altitude of 600 meters to subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forests, subtropical dry valley shrubs; temperate deciduous broad-leaf forests, coniferous broad-leaf mixed forests, coniferous forests, and mountain cold temperate dark needles at an altitude of about 4,000 meters. Ye Lin has a habitat. It has the habit of vertical migration. It inhabits high mountains in summer and gradually moves from highlands to lower altitudes before winter, even to dry valley shrub areas. 

living habits


Black bears are typical forest-dwelling animals. Black bears in the north have the habit of hibernating and build dens in tree holes, rock caves and burrows in big trees, under logs or rocks, along riverbanks, dark ditches and shallow depressions. In autumn, they will eat a lot to prepare for hibernation. They will eat a lot of food to store fat. They will hibernate in the cave throughout the winter, not eating, and in a semi-sleep state. After hibernation, they will automatically lower their body temperature and heart rate to save the body's metabolism. He came out of the cave in March or April of the following year.


Black bears have very sensitive senses of smell and hearing. They can smell smells half a kilometer away with a favorable wind and hear footsteps 300 steps away. But his vision is poor, so he is known as the "black blind man". Black bears can walk upright like humans and sit like humans, but they move cautiously and slowly and rarely attack humans. They are generally active at night and sleep in tree holes or rock caves during the day. It is good at climbing and can go up to very tall trees to get fruits and honey; it is also good at swimming.


Black bears are standard omnivores and feed mainly on plants. They eat a wide variety of foods, including buds, leaves, stems, roots, and fruits of various plants, as well as mushrooms, shrimps, crabs, fish, invertebrates, birds, rodents, and carrion; they also eat ants. Nests and hives. Although meat makes up a very small part of its diet, black bears are thought to be more carnivorous than American black bears.

Because many natural foods have obvious seasonal changes, the staple food of black bears often also changes seasonally. In spring, black bears feed mostly on fresh and juicy grass, buds and leaves of trees. In summer, they feed on various fruits and berries rich in carbohydrate nutrients, such as raspberries, loquats, kiwis, and various Lauraceae fruits, as well as ants, bees and other insects. In autumn and winter, black bears feed on nuts rich in fat, such as hickory nuts and acorns from the Fagaceae family.

Reproduction method

Black bears are basically solitary animals. Only when mating do males and females meet and may look for food together. The mating seasons of black bears vary in different regions. Black bears living in Russia mate between June and July every year, and their cubs are usually born between December and March of the following year; black bears living in Pakistan usually mate in October. They mate and the cubs are usually born around February of the following year.

The fertilized egg does not develop after implantation in the female's uterus, and implantation is delayed. The female bear begins to grow during hibernation, experiencing rapid development for ten weeks. Female bears that raise cubs in nature reproduce every other year. Cubs are usually born in January or February. Newborn bear cubs are very small, weighing about 500 grams. They open their eyes after one month. Twins are common, and there are also 1 or 3 cubs. The cubs cannot see clearly when they are born. After the spring warms up, the black bears begin to leave their dens. The cubs are also full of energy, curious and like to play. When their mother senses danger, she calls the cubs up a tree. They are usually weaned between 6 and 8 months of the first year and stay with their mother bear for the first winter. By the second winter they were living independently. The survival of cubs depends entirely on the mother bear teaching them foraging skills, how to find food and shelter caves, and how to find shelter to keep warm and avoid danger. During the breeding season, female bears usually take their cubs to avoid male bears to avoid causing harm to the cubs.

protect status

protection level

Listed in the "World Conservation Union Red List of Threatened Species" (IUCN) 2016 ver3.1 - Near Threatened (NT).

Listed in Appendix I, Appendix II and Appendix III of the 2019 edition of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

It is listed in the second level of China's "List of National Key Protected Wild Animals" (February 5, 2021).

bear trade

There are eight species of bears in the world that are threatened by human hunting, seven of which are threatened by the bear bile trade. Bear fur, gallbladders, paws and other body parts are sold to traditional Chinese medicine and the game food market. The demand for bear bile has contributed to the rapid development of bear farming in China since the 1980s. At that time, a large number of black bears in the wild, especially cubs, were captured and sold to bear farms. Due to limitations in breeding conditions and technology, many black bears died of infection during drainage operations and during feeding, causing a catastrophe to bear resources. This phenomenon is common in all countries with bears, leading to a sharp decline in the total number of bears.

Every year, more than 7,000 black bears suffer cruel torture in more than 400 bear farms around the world. They were kept in iron cages that were too small to turn over, and catheters were implanted into their bodies using extremely unhygienic and primitive methods. Bile was taken as medicine every day, and the wounds on their abdomens were never sutured. Most of the bears have been imprisoned since childhood, and some have been imprisoned for 13 years, leaving them physically and mentally disabled. Due to poor surgical techniques and year-round confinement, the bears in the bear farm can only live at most 1/3 of their normal lifespan.

total group number

In China, it is estimated that there are 1,000-1,500 in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning; the number of Himalayan subspecies is very small and needs further investigation; Sichuan black bears are widely distributed and numerous. It is estimated that there are around the Sichuan Basin and the mountains of northern Sichuan, Gannan and Qinba. The wild population in mountainous areas, Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guangdong, Anhui and Zhejiang provinces is about 8,200-12,500; Tibetan black bears (named subspecies) are distributed over a large area in Tibet, including the mountainous areas of western Yunnan. Extending north to the Yushu area in southern Qinghai, the population is estimated to be 2,500-3,500; the number of black bears in Taiwan is very small; the bears on Hainan Island have not been seen for many years and may have become extinct. Therefore, the wild population of black bears in China is estimated to be 12,000-18,000, and the highest estimate is only 20,000.

Cause of Endangerment

The most beneficial conservation measure would be to drastically reduce the demand for black bears for their products, thereby reducing hunting and trade. Species are protected under international and national laws, but these laws are often not implemented. The species has been listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora since 1979. The subspecies Pakistani black bear (Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus), which lives in the dry thorn forests of the Balochistan region of southern Pakistan and Iran, is listed as critically endangered on the 1996 IUCN Red List, and Pakistan is listed as critically endangered by the country. The authorities have proposed a protected area to assist in the recovery of this very small and isolated species.

Hunting black bears is only legal in Japan and Russia. Russian law allows the hunting of 75-100 bears per year, while illegal hunting is estimated to be around 500 bears per year. An average of about 500 black bears are also killed each year in Japan, with numbers having been slowly declining since the late 1980s due to reduced interest in hunting. However, 1,000-2,000 are still hunted every year, sometimes as many as 4,000. Methods for hunting black bears include the use of guns, traps and snares.


Black bears are listed as a protected species in most countries. For example, this wild animal is listed as a Class II protected animal in China, and is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act in India. In Korea, it is designated as a National Monument (No. 329) within the Cultural Properties Protection Act and also as an endangered wild animal. In Japan, the species is listed as endangered under trade-certified wildlife trade laws, however, hunting for bear bile and bear paws remains exempt throughout Southeast Asia. This species is classified as "generally protected" in every country except Myanmar. This means that they can be killed at any time. Black bears are classified as a protected species in Afghanistan, and all hunting and trade of the species within the country is banned by the government.