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What are the Different Types of Endangered Bears?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Many people are aware of the dwindling numbers that the polar bear faces today. Several different types of endangered bears, however, are currently in need of protection. Of the world's eight main species of bear, six face the threat of extinction. Sun bears, Asiatic black bears, giant pandas, and other bears listed as threatened species.

South America and Asia are home to the bears needing the most animal protection. The most threatened bear species on Earth is the giant panda. Less than 2,000 of the endangered bears remain alive in the wild. Though a ban on logging, the development of over 50 panda reserves, and other programs have been established, pandas are still continually threatened by habitat destruction.

The round, black Asiatic black bear, its subspecies, the Baluchistan Bear, in particular, is listed as another vulnerable species. No estimate of its population is available, though its numbers have declined by up to 50 percent during the past three decades. In addition to the habitat loss the bear faces, hunting is a major culprit to the black bear's demise. The Asiatic black bear's bile is considered useful in some Asian folk remedies, and is highly sought after.

Known as the world's smallest bear species, the sun bear is considered a vulnerable animal, facing a high risk of extinction. The species has declined by one percent every year for the last 30 years. The four to five foot (120 to 150 centimeter) long endangered bears live in Southeast Asian tropical forests, where hunting and habitat loss are causing their population shrinkage.

Endangered bears also live in South America. Spectacled, or Andean, bears can be found throughout Panama and Argentina. Considered a short-faced bear, the Andean bear is listed as a vulnerable species needing protection. The last species of bear in South America, it faces a variety of threats from humans. These include oil exploration, poaching, mining development, and agricultural business ventures.

India is home to the nocturnal black and white sloth bear. The bear, which can also be found in Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka, is classified as vulnerable. Dwindling sloth bear numbers are attributed to habitat loss and poaching. The poaching of these endangered bears can be especially disturbing, as its body parts are considered a commodity in commercial trade. Some are also captured alive, and made to perform tricks for money.

Polar bears are the world's largest land carnivores. Less than 25,000 of the vulnerable bears are left in the wild. Loss of this species is largely due to climate change. As the Arctic sea ice melts, the bear's habitat and hunting grounds rapidly diminish. Other factors that threaten the polar bear include oil development, pollution, and tourism.

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Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for All Things Nature, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On Jan 10, 2015

New species of animals are discovered and other species become extinct. As @Drentel said, this is simply survival of the fittest for the most part. However, I think we should be concerned when our actions are causing the extinctions. Whether we are talking about a bear or a gnat, all organisms play at least a small part in painting the big picture.

By Sporkasia — On Jan 10, 2015

@Drentel - We should all be concerned about the endangered bears of the world. Not only would the loss of these animals currently endangered be sad, but their extinction could be a warning sign for other mammals, such as humans.

Also, you mentioned polar bears specifically. If the polar bear continues to drop in number then their absence from the environment could lead to hard times and maybe extinction for so many other scavengers that depend on the polar bear kills for survival.

If you take the polar bear away this will also lead to larger seal populations and this could effect the ecosystem in various ways that could prove to be negative, including a decrease in fish populations.

By Drentel — On Jan 09, 2015

Having seen many TV documentaries about polar bears, I would like to have the chance to see a wild one in person before I die. Of course, at the rate that these animals are losing their habit it is possible they will all die before I do.

I believe nature has a way of taking care of itself, and survival of the fitness is basically the way life is supposed to work, so I don't get too worried when animals in general dwindle in number or when animals become endangered. However, I can't imagine a world without an animal like the polar bear which is so distinctive and has been around for so long.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for All Things Nature, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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