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The Asiatic black bear, Ursus thibetanus, is also known as the Tibetan or Himalayan black bear, or the white-breasted bear because of the distinctive white crescent-shaped marking on its chest.

Asiatic black bears' preferred range is in the mountainous forests of South Asia, from Pakistan to China and as far north as Russia, but as their habitat these days is much depleted and fragmented, zoos seem to be a major home ground for them, as a quick web search will reveal.

Asiatic black bears are similar in size to American black bears, 140 to 165 cm long (about 4 to 6 ft), and perhaps 90 to as much as 180 kg in weight (200 to 400 lb); like most bears, the males are on average twice the size of the females. They have larger ears than most other bears and relatively short claws adapted to tree climbing, and sport a distinctive "mane" of long fur around their necks. They are omnivorous, like their American cousins, consuming a variety of grasses, nuts, berries, insects, small mammals, and honey. Like all northern hemisphere bears, they hibernate, and so spend much of the summer and fall fattening up in preparation for a long winter sleep. A favourite food at this time is nuts, and they clamber up trees and out onto limbs to try to reach the choicest ones; the gunshot sound of snapping twigs apparently rings out constantly as the branches snap under the weight of the hungry bears.

The gall bladder of the Asiatic black bear is prized in Chinese medicine, and so they are killed for this, as well as for their bad habits of eating the bark of valuable timber trees and killing livestock for food. Perhaps because their range is so restricted, they are quite aggressive, and will attack if surprised. They are considered vulnerable, but not yet endangered.

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