By Faranak Bakhtiari

Let's protect precious Baluchi black bear

September 11, 2021 - 17:32

TEHRAN – The Asiatic black bear, living in southeastern Iran and known as the Baluchi black bear, is an endangered species, so a national committee has been set up to protect the valuable species.

There are eight species of bears in the world, including Asiatic black bears, brown bears (which include grizzly bears), giant pandas, North American black bears, polar bears, sloth bears, spectacled bears (also called Andean bears), and sun bears.

Two species of brown bears and Asiatic black bears live in Iran. The Baluchi black bear is second only to the cheetah in terms of the importance of protection in the country.

Known as “mam” in the Baluchi language, Baluchi black bear has biological, aesthetic, scientific, and educational values, but is being pushed towards extinction due to habitat degradation and illegal poaching.

The Asiatic black bear lives mainly in forested areas, especially in hilly and mountainous areas at altitudes of 500 meters to 2700 meters, and is found in the provinces of Kerman, Hormozgan, and Sistan-Baluchestan with very low density.

The Asiatic black bear usually lives alone and is mostly nocturnal. It feeds on herbs, dates, olives, fruits, plant materials, insects and carcasses, and sometimes even hunts animals.

Baluchi black bear critically endangered due to habitat degradation and illegal poaching. In some areas, it sleeps in caves during the winter and mates in late spring. The cubs are born in the winter and each female bear gives birth to between one and three cubs, and the cubs are milked up to 1.5 months after leaving the nest and stay with the mother for about two to two years. Females are able to reproduce at the age of three.

The Asiatic black bear is black, has a light brown muzzle, and a distinct white patch on the chest, which sometimes has the shape of a V. Its ears are bell-shaped, proportionately longer than those of other bears, and stick out sideways from the head. Its tail is 11 cm (4.3 in) long. Adults measure 70–100 cm (28–39 in) at the shoulder, and 120–190 cm (47–75 in) in length.

Asiatic black bears are similar in general appearance to brown bears but are more lightly built and are slenderer-limbed.

The black bear has adapted to living on a tree, and its sharp claws and limbs are positioned to help it climb the tree. On the tree, the branches are placed below them, and therefore the nest-like profiles are one of the important signs of their presence in any area.

It lives in the Himalayas, in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, the Korean Peninsula, northeastern China, the Russian Far East, the Honsh and Shikoku islands of Japan, and Taiwan. It is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), mostly because of deforestation and hunting for its body parts. Although largely herbivorous, Asiatic black bears can be very aggressive toward humans, who frequently trap or kill them for traditional medicine.

Some non-governmental organizations with the help of the Department of Environment in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan have studied the biology and ecology of the Asiatic black bear. In this research, the biological information of this animal and its interaction with local communities have been examined.

The result was that among all the life-threatening factors of this beautiful animal, the most important factor is the conflict between the needs of the Baluchi black bear and human desires.

So that, besides any conservation programs, they need people’s protection the most.

FB/MG
 

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