DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionFossil remains of the Asiatic black bear have been found as far west as Germany and France, but in historic times the species has been limited to Asia. This species occupies a narrow band from southeastern Iran (Gutleb and Ziaie 1999) eastward through Afghanistan and Pakistan, across the foothills of the Himalayas, to Myanmar. It occupies all countries in mainland Southeast Asia except Malaysia. It has a patchy distribution in southern China, and is absent in much of east-central China. Another population cluster exists in northeastern China, the southern Russian Far East, and into North Korea. A small remnant population exists in South Korea. They also live on the southern islands of Japan (Honshu and Shikoku) and on Taiwan and Hainan. The species now occurs very patchily through much of its former range, especially in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, mainland southeast Asia and China. Its distribution in parts of China and Myanmar remains very poorly known.
The distribution of the Asiatic black bear roughly coincides with forest distribution in southern and eastern Asia (FAO 2006), except that in central and southern India this species is replaced by the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), in southern Thailand and into Malaysia it is replaced by the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) and north and west of the Russian Far East it is replaced by the brown bear (Ursus arctos). However, the Asiatic black bear overlaps the ranges of each of these species, especially the sun bear in a large portion of Southeast Asia.