Human beings are pushing wild species to extinction. There were over 100 types of bears in the wild based on fossil evidence but this has then been reduced to only 8 species. The following are the bear species you can find in the wild confined to Europe, Asia, North America, and South America:
Asian black bear
Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is a native Asian bear that is primarily a herbivore. The bear has distinct soft, long and shaggy fur and males weight (200-255) pounds whereas females weight (110-190) pounds. In the 1960s the population of the Asian black bears was estimated at 150,000, this has since then reduced to less than 20,000. Asian black bears are poached for bile and their bones are considered to have medicinal value. What used to be a docile and friendly animal has developed hatred towards and won’t hesitate to attack. The species is endangered and on the blink of extinction.
American black bear
The American black bear(Urus Americanus) is a close relative of the Asian bear but there is a great disparity. The population of American black bears has increased over the past 30 years. The species is widely spread across North America. Males weigh (200-300) pounds and reach maturity after 8 years, the females are relatively smaller weighing between (150-250) pounds and reach maturity after 6 years. American black bears are considered very intelligent and sometimes even outsmart human beings when scavenging garbage.
Sun bear(Helarctus Malayanus) is yet another native Asian bear on the blink of extinction. Feeding primarily on honey, this is the smallest bear species left in the wild, Males weigh (100-170) pounds with females weighing ( 80-120) pounds. The small size makes them vulnerable to predation from tigers, pythons, and leopards. As if that is not enough human being are clearing their natural habitats to pave way for cultivation, the species is also poached to its bile and there are hundreds in captivity running in bile farms.
Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) famously known as the Andean bear is the only native South American bear species left in the wild. Spectacled bear has ring patterns near its eyes, each pattern is unique just like the human fingerprints. Male adults weight (175-280) pounds and females (80-165) pounds. The bear spends over 90% of its life in trees and is on the blind of extinction due to human-wildlife conflict.
Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus) is a native Indian bear specifically adapted to feed on ants and termites. Males weight (170-310) pounds and females (120-200) pounds. Though termites make up 90% of its diet, the bear also feeds on fruits and specific vegetation. There are less than 20,000 sloth bear left in the wild. The species is hunted for bile and with increased deforestation, there might be none left come the next 10 years.
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a natively Chinese species loved for its cute black and white patched body. Giants panda can reach heights of up to 1.9 meters and weigh up to 170kgs. Bamboo makes up 99 % of a giant panda diet but occasionally they also feed on rodents and birds. Giant pandas are on the blink of extinction with deforestation being the main cause. Bamboo is not nutritious and for this reason, the pandas have to eat it in bulk, of which people are clearing their habitats threatening the existence of the species. Pet black market in China is also a great enemy to conservation efforts.
Brown bear(Ursus arctos) is the second largest terrestrial carnivore in the world. Brown bears are famously known as the grizzly bear which is a Latin name for the terrifying bear. The species is native North American and grow to enormous sizes. On average, adult males weight (800-1200) pounds while females weigh (400-900) pounds. They have a hump on their shoulder and are omnivorous. The species is widely spread in North America and its population is considered stable.
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is the largest bear in the world. At maturity, a polar bear can weigh up to 800 kilograms and reach up to 3 meters in height. The species is related to the brown bear but polar bears are specifically adapted to live in the Arctic Circle. It primarily feeds on seals but small whales also make part of their diet. The white color helps the bear blend in its environment. Beneath the skin, there is a layer of fat to provide insulation. Unfortunately, global warming is threatening the existence of the species.
Written by Francis Nderi