ASIATIC BLACK BEAR/Behaviour, Distribution, Habitat, Size, Weight, IUCN stetus

ASIATIC BLACK BEAR

ASIATIC BLACK BEAR


DESCRIPTION: A large forest-dwelling bear of the Himalayas, the Asiatic Black Bear is also called the Moon Bear due to the crescent-shaped creamy or white mark on its glossy black chest. Its black fur is much shorter than that of the other black bear of India, the Sloth Bear, its muzzle is shorter and tan–brown, the brown colour stopping short below the eyes and its chest marking is crescent shaped instead of ‘V’ shaped and extends all the way to its armpits. The chin is white. Longer hairs are present in the neck region, probably an evolutionary adaptation to escape the bites of predators such as tigers. It has powder-puff ears that are very noticeable and a very short tail. The feet are large with black pads and form the largest tracks among Indian bears. The claws on its digits are pronouncedly curved and dark black in colour, longer on the forefoot than the hind foot but shorter than those of the Brown and Sloth Bears. U.t. laniger has denser under-wool, an overall longer and more luxuriant coat, and a smaller white crescent mark while in U.t. thibetanus, the coat is shorter with little or no under-wool and a larger crescent on the chest.

BEHAVIOUR: U.t. laniger hibernates in the upper Himalayas, although for not as long and not as continuously as the Brown Bear but U.t. thibetanus does not hibernate at all. It is much more arboreal than the Brown or Sloth Bears, ascending trees to feed on fruit or honey or escape intrusion though it does not sleep on trees like the Sun Bear.

DISTRIBUTION: Throughout the Himalayas from Jammu & Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh and in hilly regions of other north–eastern states (Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura).

HABITAT: The species prefers heavily forested broadleaved and coniferous forests as habitat. It uses orchards, agricultural fields and human habitation to move between forest patches. In the North–East, it is also found in deciduous and semi-evergreen forests.

 Size : 110–190 cm

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

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