In this chapter the major conservation issues bears face is reviewed and management actions that can address these conservation issues are highlighted. The future of bears across the world is bright for some species but dark for others. In some areas such as North America and in parts of Europe and Asia, bear populations have increased and stabilized because of increased management effort and increasing support for bears and their needs by the humans who share habitat with them. However, for most bear species, the future is uncertain. Andean bears continue to be threatened by habitat loss and human encroachment. In much of Asia outside Japan, Asiatic black bear, sloth bear, and sun bear populations are increasingly threatened by unmanaged excessive mortality combined with habitat loss to timber harvest, plantation agriculture, and human encroachment. The long-term future for polar bears is threatened by the unmanageable threat of climate change. Giant pandas are fragmented into small populations despite intense conservation efforts. Improving public and political support for bears is the most important need if we are to realize successful bear conservation and management.
This chapter comprises the following sections: names, taxonomy, subspecies and distribution, descriptive notes, habitat, movements and home range, activity patterns, feeding ecology, reproduction and growth, behavior, parasites and diseases, status in the wild, and status in captivity.
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