Asian black bear: why extinction is closer

Marked as Vulnerable by the IUCN, this bear is severely threatened by deforestation and the destruction of its habitat

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Asian black bear: why extinction is closer

Asian black bear is widespread in a wide range extended from Iran to the Japanese archipelago, in Japan there are also two subspecies of the brown bear, Ursus arctos lasiotus and Ursus arctos yesoensis. The countries in which it is present are North Korea, South Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, southern Siberia, northeast China and Taiwan.

It can also be found at altitudes equal to 4700 m. In some areas of its range it shares space with the much larger Brown Bear although it does not fully share the same ecological niche as this little black bear prefers to find food in trees in search of fruit and nuts.

Another urside with which it shares the territory is the Giant Panda. Marked as Vulnerable by the IUCN, this bear is severely threatened by deforestation and the destruction of its habitat. These animals are also threatened by the local traditions of China and Southeast Asia where they are killed for the production of medicines.

The current population would be around 50,000 specimens. Famous is the case of the bile farms, where thousands of bears are locked up in tiny cages for the production of bile. For the production of bile they are subjected to great suffering, a kind of needle is inserted into the chest and remains for years allowing the extraction of bile until it causes infections, malnutrition and living in tiny cages also other traumas.

The Animal Asia Foundation association deals with the recovery of some bears devastated by this practice and tries to avoid the exploitation of the species. Another form of exploitation in respect of this species is bear-baiting, still practiced in some Asian countries (including Pakistan).

In it the bear is forced to fight against dogs (often Bully Kutta), until his death. The animal is deprived of claws and teeth, so that the only way it has to defend itself is to hunt down the dog with its paws and tighten it to the chest, but since there are usually two incited opponents, this practice is rarely successful.

In China and other parts of Asia the case has often been reported of people who, mistaking their puppy for a puppy dog ​​(usually of the Tibetan Mastiff breed), adopted him and brought him into the house, only later discovering his true species.