75% of Bear Species at Risk

Asia's sun bear now the fifth of eight bear species endangered worldwide
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2007 7:15 PM CST
Malayan Sun Bear "'Charlotte" inspects her outdoor enclosure in the zoological garden in Cologne, Germany, on Friday, July 20, 2007. Sun bears are the latest bear species to be classified as "vulnerable"...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Southeast Asia's sun bear is now the sixth of eight bear species facing extinction worldwide, the Telegraph reports. Experts admit they know little about the bear, but blame deforestation, hunting, and fearful villagers for menacing the species. "We estimate that sun bears have declined by at least 30 per cent over the past 30 years (three bear generations)," said one specialist.

The Giant Panda was listed as most imperiled among bear species by the World Conservation Union, which is drawing up its 2007 Red List of Endangered Species. Only 1,600 of the pandas still roam free in south-central China. The European brown bear and American "Grizzly" face the least danger, but still garner most funds for conservation.