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Moon Bear

Moon Bear
  • The moon bear is also known as the Asiatic, Tibetan, and Himalayan black bear. Their habitat includes Southeast Asia, southern China, and bordering countries. It is also found as far north as Korea and Japan.
  • The moon bear has medium length jet black fur that is shaggy in the front and sides. Sometime their color is dark brown to chocolate. They display a magnificent crescent moon pattern on their chest that stands out against their dark body. Sometimes the area around their muzzle and near their nose is white.

  • A husky body with round eyes and a medium sized head is typical. These gentle animals have round Micky Mouse style ears that pop up to capture subtle noises. When they stand on their hind legs their ears are erect and they sway their arms for balance.

  • They live in different types of dense forests including mountain ranges, bush flats, and meadows.

  • Asiatic black bears are social at birth and engage in much play. However when they reach adulthood and head out on their own they lead solitary lives. There is a short courtship period prior to mating.

  • Moon bears average 200 to 300 pounds. They are about five feet tall. Females tend to weight slightly less than males. Size is dependent on factors of their particular habitat such as food supply, season, and climate conditions.

  • The Asiatic black bear will eat almost anything. In some areas they eat only plant matter. Where small animals are available they are omnivorous. Their diet can include leaves, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, termites, crickets, and lizards. They will also eat nesting birds and their eggs. They like honey and will eagerly raid bee nests. Rodents and other small mammals are also on their menu.

  • These bears are nocturnal and spend most of the day sleeping in shelters or tree branches.

  • They breed from May through June. If weather and food supplies are favorable, mating may continue in to July. In the winter the mother enters the den and gives birth to her cubs.

  • Litter size: 1 to 3 cubs.

  • Accurate population figures are not available due to the fragmented ranges where they reside and their reclusive nature. However they are listed as vulnerable or endangered in some countries.

  • Major threats against this species include human encroachment, habitat fragmentation, and relentless poaching of both adults and cubs for their body parts to supply illegal trade. Killing moon bears, primarily to sell their paws and gall bladders, is illegal in countries such as China. That does not discourage poachers as the black market price for their body parts is high and enforcement is difficult.

  • Most unfortunate for the moon bear and their population is the fact that they are captured for the inhumane purpose of bear farming (check our Bear Cruelty page).


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