For Bear Awareness Week, I thought I would publish this post from a couple of years ago. Although the population information on each species is a little different now, it still gives you a good idea of the bears’ plight in the wild. We have some great stuff going on for Bear Awareness Week, that you can read about in a post that Erin just wrote. And if you come to the bear overlook this Wednesday or Saturday, you can get a prize if you name all 8 species of bears! So remember this post!
According to World Conservation Union (IUNC), 6 out of the 8 bear species are now in danger of extinction. The following information is from the November 2007 IUNC Red List of Threatened Species, known as the world’s most comprehensive global inventory concerning the status of threatened plant and animal species.
Spectacled Bear (or Andean Bear)Listed “Vulnerable” (to extinction). Distribution is endemic to the Tropical Andes and is the only bear in South America. Population is maybe 20,000.
Sloth Bear: Listed “Vulnerable”. Found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Uncertain as to whether they still exist in Bangladesh. Population estimated at 10,000- 20,000.
Polar Bear: Listed “Vulnerable”. Found in the Arctic, Alaska, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway. Population about 20,000-25,000.
Black Bear:Listed “Species of least concern”. Range is North America (Alaska, Canada and northern Mexico). Population is 850,000-950,000.
Brown Bear: Listed “Second species of least concern”. Subspecies of brown bear include the Eurasian, Yukon Grizzly, Syrian and Kodiak bear. Are found in Russia, the United States (especially Alaska), Canada, Europe and Asia. Total population is over 200,000.
Moon Bear (or Asiatic Black Bear): Listed “Vulnerable”. Have wide distribution including south and east Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, northern India, Nepal, China, Japan and many other countries. Unofficially, population is around 28,000 in China.
Sun Bear: Listed “Vulnerable”. Most recent species to be added to the Red List of Threatened Species. Also smallest species. Found in southeast Asia, Sumatra and Borneo. Population unknown.
Giant Panda: Listed “Endangered” and facing the greatest threat of extinction. Population, only about 1,600 in the wild, is limited to south-central China.
(Above) Photo of spectacled bear courtesy of Wild Spots Foundation.
(Left) Photo of sloth bear taken by Jenny E. Ross at http://www.bearbiology.com/bsgmain