years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Name: Asiatic black bear (Ursus selenarctos Thibetanus)
Affectionately called moon bears, because of the beautiful
yellow crescent moon found on the bears' chests.
Moon bears have thick, shaggy fur, ranging in colour
from ebony black to a lighter brown-black, and big round ears.
They have short, strong claws which enable them to climb
Weighing140-200 kg, males grow to around twice
the size of females, which weigh 60-130 kgs in the wild. However,
the females can often be dominant and can usually be distinguished
by the thicker ruff of fur around their necks.
Moon bears are typically four to six feet tall.
Moon bears are found right across the Asian continent from Pakistan
to Japan. They often live at high altitudes and prefer heavily
Home territories are estimated to be between 4-8 miles.
Moon bears are classified as carnivores, although they follow
an omnivorous diet. Their diet varies according to location and
season, but predominantly consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts,
insects, small mammals, birds and carrion. Occasionally, moon
bears may attack livestock or raid crops.
Moon bears are highly intelligent and have a large vocabulary,
making clucking sounds during play, "tut-tut-tut" sounds when
cautious and huffing sounds when warning or about to attack. Females
are more vocal than males.
Moon bears tend to be solitary, crepuscular (active at dawn and
dusk) animals once they reach adulthood. They can survive for
up to 35 years in captivity, though usually live for 25 -30 years
in the wild.
Moon bears love to makes dens in hollow logs and caves and also sleep
in trees. They often hibernate between November and March/April
(although this can vary depending on their specific range.)
Moon bears may also migrate and spend the warmer months of the
year at higher altitudes and then descend to the lowlands during
Moon bears tend to give birth to twins in April or May (but are
also known to give birth earlier in hibernation) and although
weaned by 4-6 months, the cubs stay with their mothers for their
first two years.
Moon bears are the most valued bears for traditional medicine,
partly because the species was so abundant in the areas
where traditional medicine originated. Their range extends from
Iran to Japan and across Southeast Asia and it is estimated that
there are as few as 16,000 left in the wild worldwide.