Accepted scientific name: Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus (Blanford, 1877)
Description: Smaller than the other Asiatic black bear subspecies. The pelage is short and coarse and varies from a rufous brown to deep black. The chest patch is darker and the head thinner than the norm; the ears are large in proportion to the narrower head. The chin is white. Length 130 cm to 190 cm with males weighing from 100 kg to 200 kg and females from 50 kg to 125 kg.
Range: Once found throughout the mountainous Baluchistan region (comprising part of western Pakistan, south-eastern Iran and south-western Afghanistan). Now limited to the higher hill and mountain ranges of southwest Pakistan and southeast Iran. The bear is most often seen in Khuzdar Hills in Pakistan but the population size is thought to be very small.
Baluchistan region shown in pink (U.S. CIA); present range of Baluchistan bear shown in blue on the smaller map
Habitat: Arid sub-tropical thorn forest.
Status: Very rare. On the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered and listed in CITES Appendix I. Nationally listed as critically endangered in Pakistan.
Life span: 25 to 30 years.
Food: Particularly fond of fruit, especially figs and bananas, and nuts. Diet also includes insects, honey and bees’ nests, lizards, small mammals and carrion.
Behaviour:. Apparently largely nocturnal, sleeping in trees and caves during the day. Sexual maturity of females is thought to occur at three to four years. Believed to mate in October and cubs are born in February. Cubs stay with their mothers for two to three years.
Threats: Human persecution and poaching, deforestation and loss of habitat.
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Page updated 25 August 2017