|Scientific Name:||Ursus thibetanus G. [Baron] Cuvier, 1823|
Seven subspecies have been recognized, many of which have been corroborated as distinct genetic clades (Kim et al. 2011, Yusefi 2013, Wu et al. 2015).
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Garshelis, D. & Steinmetz, R.|
|Reviewer(s):||Obbard, M. & McLellan, B.|
|Contributor(s):||LaBruna, D., Abbas, F., Bendixsen, T., Broadis, N., Choudhury, A., Fahimi, H., Galbreath, G., Ghadirian, T., Hameed, S., Htun, S., Hwang, M., Islam, M., Jeong, D., Khan, M., Koike, S., Liu, F., Long, B., Ngoprasert, D., Oi, T., Olsson, A., Robinson, J., Sathyakumar, S., Scotson, L., Seryodkin, I., Shepherd, C., Wangchuk, S., Yadav, B., Yamazaki, K. & Yusefi, G.|
Widespread illegal killing of bears and trade in parts, combined with loss of habitat indicate that this species is likely declining in most parts of its range. Country bear experts on the IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group (representing all range countries except the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) estimated rates of population change for the past 30 years (three bear generations), and projected rates of change for the next 30 years (see Figure 2 in the attached Supplementary Material). These assessments were based on perceived levels of exploitation, loss and degradation of habitat, and changes in area of occupancy within their respective countries; no range countries have estimates of abundance or indices of abundance that are sufficient to document population trend. One country (Pakistan) obtained empirical estimates of a decline in occupancy of 33% in 30-40 years (Abbas et al. 2015).
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
Fossil remains of the Asiatic Black Bear have been found in various sites in Europe, as far north as the Ural Mountains and Germany and west to France, dating from the early Pliocene to late Pleistocene (Erdbrink 1953, Kosintsev 2007, Baryshnikov and Zakharov 2013, Fourvel et al. 2014); however, in historic times the species has been limited to Asia. The western range limit is in southeastern Iran, inhabited by the so-called Baluchistan bear (U. t. gedrosianus) (Ahmadzadeh et al. 2008, Ghadirian et al. 2012). This small population is likely connected to the Baluchistan bear population in southern Pakistan. Disjunct populations of Asiatic Black Bears also occur in the more mountainous regions of northern Pakistan (Khan et al. 2012) and Afghanistan (Ostrowski et al. 2009). Eastward they continue within a narrow band along the foothills and south side of the Himalayas (up to treeline) across India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and then more widely distributed at lower elevations (generally >70 m but occasionally to 20 m) in the hill states of northeastern India (Sathyakumar and Choudhury 2007). They occur across mainland Southeast Asia, stretching south in Myanmar and Thailand to ~200 km north of the Malaysian border (Kanchanasakha et al. 2010); there are no records of Asiatic Black Bears ever existing in Malaysia. Over half the total range area of this species exists in China, especially in the south-central and southwestern parts of the country. This distribution includes portions of Tibet, from which the specific name, thibetanus, is derived. Smaller, remnant populations occur in eastern China. Another population cluster exists in northeastern China, the southern Russian Far East, and North Korea. A small isolated population exists in southern South Korea. They also live on the southern islands of Japan (Honshu and Shikoku) and on Taiwan and Hainan. Although they have been extirpated from large portions of their range, they remain in all 18 historic range countries.
Native:Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Russian Federation; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Viet Nam
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
The only rigorous population estimates for this species have been produced in Thailand, based on mark–recapture with camera traps, using distinctive chest patterns (Ngoprasert et al 2010; Higashide et al. 2012, 2013) to identify individual bears. This work yielded density estimates in three study sites in Khao Yai National Park, ranging from 8-29 bears per 100 km² (Ngoprasert et al. 2012, 2013). Bear sign density was found to be correlated with estimates of bear density, so sign surveys conducted across the country may, in the future, yield a reasonably reliable country-wide population index and trend information.
|Current Population Trend:||Decreasing|
|Habitat and Ecology:|
Asiatic Black Bears occupy a variety of forested habitats, both broad-leaved and coniferous, from near sea level to an elevation of 4,300 m (in northeastern India and Sikkim; Sathyakumar and Choudhury 2007, Sathyakumar et al. 2011). They also infrequently use open alpine meadows. A photo-capture was made in the alpine region of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Uttarakhand, India at 4,500 m (>1,000 m above the mean tree line; S. Sathyakumar, Wildlife Institute of India, pers. comm., 2014). In some areas of Nepal, local people have reported Asiatic Black Bears at higher than normal elevations, possibly a result of climate change (Aryal et al. 2012).
|Generation Length (years):||10|
|Use and Trade:||
Bear bile has been an important component of traditional medicine in Eastern Asia for millennia. The first written account of such use was recorded in the first pharmacopeia of China in 659 A.D. (Feng et al. 2009). Bear bile is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for reducing fever and inflammation, detoxifying the liver, arresting convulsions, improving eyesight, and dissolving gall stones.
Habitat loss due to logging, expansion of agriculture and plantations, roadway networks and dams, combined with hunting for skins, paws and especially gall bladders are the main threats to this species.
Protection of forested habitats would be an important conservation measure for this species. China, Thailand, and Viet Nam have imposed various sorts of logging bans, but with varying effects (Durst et al. 2001). In some cases this has resulted in trees being obtained (often illegally) from neighbouring countries, or in creating plantations which do not provide food resources for bears. However, in 2010 Russia banned the felling of Korean Pine, a key bear food source (I. Seryodkin, Russian Academy of Sciences, pers. comm. 2014).
|Errata reason:||The Supplementary Material was accidentally left off the assessment when it was published; this omission is corrected in this version of the assessment. Some country names have also been updated and a few typographical errors have been corrected.|
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|Citation:||Garshelis, D. & Steinmetz, R. 2016. Ursus thibetanus. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22824A114252336.Downloaded on 19 September 2017.|
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