To properly look after any species it is important we first understand the basic facts about them. Asiatic black Bears, more commonly known as Moon Bears, are one of eight species of Bears currently living on earth. They are most commonly found through out the deciduous forests of Asia but can also be found in Russia. There scientific name - Ursus thibetanus - essentially translates to Tibetan bear and the are closely related to the American black bear.
The asiatic black bears here at the centre range in weight from 80-180kg. Generally the females are a little lighter than males, but they don't always read the textbook and follow the rules. They are primarily herbivorous in the wild, but will prey on small animals, eggs and insects as well. During autumn they stock up on fatty foods like nuts to help them gain weight for winter. They generally hibernate for a few months over the coldest time of year. In captivity the Bears go into their dens and we put them on winter lock down when they get quiet and stop eating. Generally they still wake up every few days for some food, and we never with hold their food even if they sleep for weeks!
One of the things I found most interesting about moon bears is that they are an arboreal species - meaning they live in trees! The average moon bear spends half of their lives in a tree, and they will even build little platforms to sleep on up there!
Although we house all of our bears in friendly groups they are generally solitary creatures. They meet for mating and often give birth to twins, who stay with their mother for around 18 months before venturing off on their own.
Currently asiatic black bears are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. They are threatened through hunting for bear parts - in particular their gall bladder and paws. They are also kept in bile farms to harvest bile from their gall bladders more regularly, which is a trade Animals Asia is helping end. Like many species the destruction of habitat and deforestation is also playing a large role in their demise, and in an ever growing human world this will continue to threaten the species.
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