In a story that will surely make Stephen Colbert cackle with delight, 6 out of 8 bears are officially listed as facing extinction.
The Sun Bear
The giant panda is the most critically endangered species with only 1600 animals left in the wild. Five other species are listed as vulnerable, most recently the Sun bear. The other four vulnerable species are the Polar bear, Sloth bear, Andean bear, and Asiatic Black bear. The European Brown bear and the American Black bear are not thought of as facing extinction.
The most recent addition, the Sun bear, will be included in the 2007 Red List created by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The Sun bear is found in Southeast Asia, Borneo, and Sumatra.
Bears are often killed in Asia because they are a threat to livestock, or they are perceived as a threat to humans. Bear hunting is banned throughout South Asia, but the illegal trade in animal parts means many poachers still hunt the bears in search of the large profits their bodies bring in. The gall bladder and paws are especially valuable, the first being used in traditional Chinese medicine and the second consumed as a delicacy in Asia.
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