Bear (Asiatic) / Ursus thibetanus

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Bears often use their sharp curved claws to help them climb trees in their search for food

They are also known as moon bears because of the characteristic white crescent marking on their chest

The gall bladders and bile of these animals is highly prized for use in traditional medicines – another reason for its decline

The small eyes of the bear, along with its rounded ears, long snout, short tail, large body and shaggy hair, differentiate it from the other species of bears. They also have a unique whitish V-shaped breast patch.

During winter months in colder, northern ranges they may hibernate for four to six months, although some bears will simply move to lower elevations. They are normally diurnal (day active) but they become increasingly nocturnal when they live close to humans.

They are omnivorous, eating both vegetables and meat, with a diet that includes insects, beetle larvae, invertebrates, termites, grubs, carrion, bees, eggs, mushrooms, grasses, fruits, nuts, seeds, honey, herbs, acorns, cherries, dogwood, oak nuts and grain.

The senses are highly developed with almost twice the hearing sensitivity of humans, coloured vision with sharp eyesight and a highly evolved sense of smell.

The mating season is usually from late June to mid-August. Similar to brown bears, Asiatic / Himalayan black bears have delayed implantation and so the twin cubs are born in the following spring. Females usually give birth in caves or hollows after a gestation period of 200–240 days. Cubs remain with their mother for 24-26 months.