Some individuals in Pakistan engage in "bear-baiting," which is the practice of making bears battle dogs. For this activity, sloth bears are poached in India and brought across the border. Farmers will also kill bears who invade their sugarcane or cornfields. Sloth bears are currently found exclusively in national parks and other protected areas. Although they can survive in smaller groups than other bear species, a group of at least three is considered optimal.
The extinction of the Indian bear (Ursus arctos indicus) is still possible because of hunting for bear bile to make Chinese medicines. The trade is still very popular in China, where it is believed to have magical properties. Bear bile prices in China can reach $100,000 per kilo.
In Pakistan, people hunt sloth bears for entertainment. They capture them by luring them with food into a trap, then killing them with knives or guns. Bears are usually kept in captivity until they die of natural causes or are put down if they injure someone. There are no legal protections for bears in Pakistan. If found in a village, a bear can be killed on the spot.
There have been efforts to save bears in Pakistan. In 1986, a bear sanctuary was established in Punjab Province. Here, orphaned cubs are cared for while looking for homes. In 2000, another sanctuary was built in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. This one is run by an organization called the Pakistani Bear Foundation.
Some bears are trained to fight as many as 10 times every day. Although bear baiting was outlawed in Pakistan by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1980, it is still practiced in remote tribal areas. There are also unlicensed hunters who bait their guns by putting rocks in plastic bags and then throwing them for the bears to find. When they do this throughout the year, they are called "boar hunters."
Bears are captured to be used in bear bating contests held by some tourists in Kashmir. These contests are illegal but not punished.
In order to attract tourists to Indian parks where bear baiting is practiced, some managers keep the bears active by giving them food while others release the bears back into the wild when they are no longer useable for baiting.
Bear hunting is legal in India's national parks but illegal outside of them. No bear parts can be sold or traded without a license. Bear meat is popular in Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore), so much so that there is a shortage of food for other animals in the city.
There have been several attacks by captive bears in India, usually when someone has tried to feed the bear or give it alcohol.
The Asiatic black bear may be found in portions of Pakistan, although its population has been decreased to roughly 1,000 animals. The primary threat to the species is persecution by locals. Bears are often killed when they are seen preying on goats and their young. Local people in parts of Pakistan also burn or shoot trees where bears congregate for food and shelter.
Bears were originally distributed across most of Asia but now exist only in India and Pakistan. They are extinct in the mainland United States, although individuals can be found in zoos and wildlife parks all over the world.
There are three main subspecies of black bear: the American black bear (Ursus americanus), the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), and the Chinese black bear (Ursus malayensis).
In 2002, there were an estimated 50,000 bears in China, mostly in the southeast portion of that country. Although bears here are not endangered, they do face threats from hunters who see them as pests because they eat fruits and vegetables left out in open bins at markets.
In India, there are approximately 25,000 bears left, primarily in the forests of northern India. Here too, they face extinction due to conflict with humans. Residents of forest villages often kill bears for meat, skins, and oil used for cooking.