The Golden Moon Bear Jun 24, 2011 6:13:50 GMT -9
Post by grrraaahhh on Jun 24, 2011 6:13:50 GMT -9
Photo credit: Sy Montgomery.
The Asiatic black bear or moon bear, Ursus thibetanus G. Cuvier, is known to have black (common) and brown (rare) color phases. We here document a blond color phase and "intermediates" between the blond and black phases. It is striking that a distinct form of a large mammal can still be described at the beginning of the 21st century.
Terminology. Site acronyms include BWC for Banglamung Wildlife Breeding Center of the Thai Royal Forest Department; LZ for Lopburi Zoo, Thailand; and BF for Bayab Farm Zoo, Cambodia. Bears one to four years in age are considered "subadult." Though longest on the neck sides, the "mane" technically comprises all hair grown from the top and sides of the neck and head, forward to and including a strip anterior to the ears.
Background and methods. Pelage of black-phase invidivuals (when not in molt) is indeed mainly black externally, the muzzle and the usually pale chest-mark being areas typically of different coloration; see POCOCK (1932, 1941) for a discussion of pelage color variation. Many "black" cover hairs are actually banded, with minimally one black band and a proximal brown, gray, or blond band. The number of bands can reach at least four.
Dark brown Pakistan specimens were reported by Blanford (1877) and roberts (1977). These records from the western part of the species' distribution are now supplemented by similar BWC specimens (e.g., Fig. 1A) from Southeast Asia.
Millet (1930) noted indigenous knowledge in what is now southern Vietnam of a large, "fauve" type of bear. In 1988 in Simao, southern Yunnan, Galbreath and P. S. Walker examined a captive blond-phase male moon bear. In 1999-2001, 13 more blond-phase or intermediate captive specimens were examined in Thailand and Cambodia, five of which are here described and figured to illustrate variation. Using mitochondrial DNA from hair samples, a 288 base-pair fragment containing portions of the cytochrome b gene and the control region was sequenced for four of these specimens and for 12 other individuals.
Galbreath, J. Garry. A New Color Phase of Ursus thibetanus (Mammalia: Ursidae) from Southeast Asia. NAT. HIST. BULL. SIAM Soc. 49: 107-111.2001.
PDF LINK: www.google.com/url?q=http://www.thaiscience.info/journals/Article/A%2520new%2520color%2520phase%2520of%2520ursus%2520thibetanus%2520(mammalia%2520ursidae)%2520from%2520southeast%2520asia.pdf&sa=U&ei=mpcETpb-CpTAsAOf9oi7DQ&ved=0CBQQFjAC&usg=AFQjCNFODQjVYK5JBuXaZ4_cHv8LWr_w9g
Galbreath et al. 2008. An apparent hybrid wild bear from Cambodia. Short Communications.
PDF LINK: liveassets.iucn.getunik.net/downloads/asiatic_black_bear.pdf
or (same article)
PDF LINK: www.bearbiology.com/fileadmin/tpl/Downloads/URSUS/Vol_19/Galbreath_Hunt_Clements_19_1.pdf