Bears have been hunted and persecuted throughout human history. Most bear populations continue to face hunting pressure and have become fragmented as a result of human habitat destruction and hunting.
The IUCN ranks Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) as data deficient, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) as lower risk, Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus), sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), and spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus) as vulnerable, and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca as endangered.
Several brown bear subspecies are listed as endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act: Mexican grizzly bears, Ursus arctos nelsoni, European brown bears, U. arctos arctos, and Tibetan brown bears or horse bears, U. arctos pruinosus. Baluchistan bears, Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus, are also considered endangered.
The following species are on Appendix I of CITES: Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Helarctos malayanus, Melursus ursinus, Tremarctos ornatus, Ursus thibetanus, and populations of Ursus arctos in Bhutan, China, Mexico and Mongolia. All other populations of U. arctos are included in Appendix II.
- Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, 2005. "CITES Appendices I, II, and III" (On-line). Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. Accessed July 13, 2005 at http://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.shtml.
- IUCN Species Survival Commission, 2004. "The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Accessed July 13, 2005 at http://www.redlist.org/.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2005. "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program" (On-line). Accessed July 13, 2005 at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.