Moon Bear

Category: Wildlife

Also known as the Asian black bear and the white-chested bear, the moon bear is a fairly small bear found throughout Asia that has adapted to living in trees. Unlike many other bear species, their body shape is more akin to prehistoric bears than it is to modern ones.

Moon Bear

Moon Bear

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Mammalia

Order - Carnivora

Family - Ursidae

Genus – Ursus

Species – U. thibetanus

Common Names – Asiatic Black Bear, Moon Bear, White-chested Bear

Characteristics

Although moon bears avoid confrontation with humans, like most animals, they can still be very dangerous and are best studied with our figurines rather than up close! They resemble American black bears, but can be distinguished by the crescent-shaped white patch on their chest, which gives them their common name.

Breeding

Pregnant moon bears enter hibernation. They give birth in hollowed out trees or cave dens, after a period of around 200 days. On average, the litter consists of two cubs.

Behavior

Moon bears are active during the day, although in areas near humans they may adapt to night time activity. They spend much of their time in trees, and will even hibernate high above ground in hollowed out tree dens. They walk upright on two legs more than any other type of bear.

History

Although moon bears are classified as omnivores, they are predominantly more carnivorous than most other bear species. They primarily feed on things like larvae, termites, grubs, and bees, but have been known to also eat nuts, mushrooms, grasses, fruits, and seeds. Because they produce something called bear bile, which is sought after in many different Asian cultures, moon bears have been severely over hunted and are now classified as vulnerable on the conservation stats spectrum.

Present Status

Moon bears are protected in China, Japan, Vietnam, India and Russia, though poaching is still a serious problem as their body parts are prized for use in traditional medicines.