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Asian Bears in Zoos

Discussion in 'United States' started by Beastking04, 8 Dec 2015.

  1. Beastking04

    Beastking04 Well-Known Member

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    I have a question. What's the current state of Sloth, Sun, and Asiatic Black Bears in Zoos in the U.S. and Europe?
     
  2. TZFan

    TZFan Well-Known Member

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    There are roughly 40 sloth bears in the US. They want the population to grow and would need 5-6 births a year to achieve growth.

    The situation for Sun bears is more dire. There are approximately 40 but they are bred as two distinct populations, Bornean and mainland, which divides that number in half roughly speaking. They are not to interbreed. Of those animals only some can be bred further reducing genetic diversity. Breeding has been incredibly hard to achieve with only 6 litters (4 Boreans to the same pair and two the mainland pairs) have been born in nearly 20 years. Most of the population is in its teens or twenties.
     
  3. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    I believe only three or four Asiatic Black Bears are left in U. S. zoos, all of which are old and geriatric. Phase-out species.
     
  4. jayjds2

    jayjds2 Well-Known Member

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    There are a lot more than 3 or 4. The Capital of Texas Zoo has two, Virginia Zoo has two, which I assume they received from the Metro Richmond Zoo, which also has some. There are some in private hands also. They will probably straggle on for a while longer, but are going to be gone eventually. It makes me sad, they are my favorite species.

    For sloth bears, they aren't in too bad of a situation. There are limited births, but slowly increasing. There is at least one breeding pair in the private sector. They were on exoticaninalsforsale.net for $11000. I laughed really hard.

    Sun bears: the previous post did a great job of explaining. Thanks for that, because I was confused.
     
  5. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    Where did the original sun bears come from (Asia, Europe) and why are there two different subspecies being managed?

    Also is there any particular reason for the breeding difficulty? I've heard rumors that sun bears have trouble reproducing in cold climates, but I've never heard of that being a problem with any other species so I'm skeptical.
     
  6. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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  7. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Based off of reading this, a wild-born Bornean population was imported to replace the Malayan population with 10 animals arriving in 1996 and 10 in 2000. The two subspecies were managed separately due to size differences and I'd imagine them not wanting to cross the subspecies. Since then, only San Diego has produced surviving cubs with one cub born in 2004, one in 2006, and twins in 2008. Columbus produced two cubs in 2011 but one was stillborn and the other died three days later. It mentions that the bears imported were all ex-pets and rescues and all had "sub-optimal rearing conditions". I would imagine that that is probably the cause of the breeding issues. The last Malayan cub was born in 2007 but didn't survive. It doesn't really go further into the Malayan population after that nor does it say where they came from although it implies that they were already around before the 1997 decision to switch to the Bornean population.

    As of 2013, there were 7.14 (21) Borneans between 12 institutions and 5.11 (16) Malayans between 10 institutions. However, the Global Species (old ISIS) records from 2010/2011 only list two AZA zoos as having Malayan: Zoo Miami and Zoo Atlanta. Miami's bears recently died but Atlanta still keeps theirs. Not sure where the other 8 institutions are, though there are a few zoos that don't have a subspecies listed so they might make that up as well as a few non-AZA collections.

    While importations are further animals are possible, without improvements in reproduction importations wouldn't sustain the population so they were switched to a phase-out species in 2012. However, there is no moratorium on breeding the remaining animals of any subspecies, but there are no plans to make breeding recommendations and no plans to pursue importation. Research on assisted reproduction is encouraged as the species is viewed as important for conservation and education.

    Sorry, that was a bit more information than you asked for:p I don't really think climate has much to do with their reproductive success, as there are animals in warmer sections of the US that have had no success while others in colder climates have had some success. Also, I believe Europe's population is breeding.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  8. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know the number of Indian Sloth Bears vs. Sri Lankan Sloth Bears in the US? I always thought the entire US population was of the Sri Lankan subspecies but then last year Philadelphia received an Indian animal from San Diego.

    I know the situation in Europe is reversed where the managed population is of the Indian subspecies while there are only a few, mostly non-breeding Sri Lankans.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  9. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Quite a few more than that in the AZA as of 2013:
    Cheyenne Mountain Zoo- 0.2
    Denver Zoo- 1.1
    Granby Zoo (Canada)- 1.0
    Little Rock Zoo- 0.1
    Milwaukee Zoo- 0.1
    Norfolk Zoo- 2.0
    Philadelphia Zoo- 1.0
    Roger Williams Park Zoo- 1.1

    That's a total of 12 animals. The zoo in Springfield is also listed as having 0.1 but that animal died last year as I think did the 1.0 held at "Metro Zoo" (assuming that's Miami?)

    Seems to be quite a few outside of AZA as well:
    Bridgeton Zoo- 0.1
    Metro Richmond Zoo- 1.1
    Juarez Zoo (Mexico)- 1.2
    Natural Bridge Zoo- 1.4
    UNKNOWN- 1.0

    That's another total of 12, though not sure if all of those are still alive. So at the least there are about 24 Asiatic Black Bears left in North America, though only 20 if within the United States and 19 if you don't count the unknown individual.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  10. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Entirely non-breeding actually.
     
  11. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    Ah okay. Knew about Whipsnade's but wasn't sure on Moscow's.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  12. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    No problem, thanks for the information Thylo.

    I did not realize the dire straits that most of our managed bear species are in. Sun bears are doing very poorly and probably on the path to total phase-out, polar bear situation is not going well, and problems with the sloth and spectacled populations also. Asiatics were already being phased out so no surprise on that front.