Indochinese black bear in Cát Tiên National Park, Vietnam (RPB – Creative Commons Licence)

Accepted scientific name:  Ursus thibetanus mupinensis  (Pierre Marie Heude, 1901)

Description:  Light coloured.

Range:  Eastern Himalaya, Indochina, Southwestern China and  Szechuan, China (see map).  It is uncertain how far west in to the Himalaya this subspecies is found and there may well be inter-breeding with U.t. laniger

Asiatic black bear distribution in green, range of Indochinese black bear range within red border (Bear Conservation – Creative Commons Licence)

Habitat:  Found mainly in forested areas and particularly in mountainous regions although they will move to lower levels as the weather becomes colder.

Status: Ursus thibetanus mupinensis is listed in appendix I of CITES and in the  “China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals” as vulnerable.

Life span:  Probably 25 to 30 years in the wild.

Food:  The bears are omnivorous although predominately herbivorous feeding on grasses, herbs, fruits, nuts including acorns, pine nuts, larvae, invertebrates, termites, small mammals, eggs, bees and honey.  They will also eat carrion when available.

Behaviour:  Generally go into hibernation in winter, although this may not always be the case in southern Indochina.  Females are sexually mature when around three or four years old.  Mating takes place between May and August.  Birth occurs in the den around the middle of February.  There are usually two cubs and they will remain with the mother into their second year, during which time she will not become pregnant again.

Threats:  The main threat is loss of habitat to agriculture, forestry, forest fires and housing with a resultant increase in conflict with humans but poaching is a serious problem.


Indochina Bear Conservation and Rescue Programme

Free the Bears

Page updated 16 February 2021