Conservation status

Only one ursid, the panda bear, has been listed as Endangered by the IUCN. Habitat destruction is a major reason for this species' decline. A recent study indicated that not only human population magnitude, but the increasing number of households as family units decrease in size, have contributed to intensifying habitat destruction, particularly for this bear. As the number of households have risen, deforestation and fragmentation of panda habitat have accelerated. Estimates place the total number of pandas in the wild at below 1,000.

Other bears have also experienced decreased suitable habitat and habitat fragmentation. The brown bear, for instance, is now found in only 2% of its former range within the continental United States. The lessened range is blamed in part on habitat destruction and fragmentation. In addition, individual populations of various species have experienced declines, even if the overall species numbers are relatively high. The American black bear is an example. Several subspecies, including Ursus americanus floridanus, are considered threatened locally. To counteract the declines, various hunting bans or regulations, habitat preservation programs, and educational efforts are under way worldwide.

The sloth bear, spectacled bear, and Asiatic black bear are listed as Vulnerable; the polar bear is Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent; and the Malayan sun bear is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN.

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