A half-moon bear gives birth to two

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A half-moon bear gives birth to two

An Asiatic black bear, protected as endangered species in Korea, has given birth to two cubs on the Mount Jiri, the National Park Service said yesterday. It is the second time that the bear, known more commonly as a half-moon bear in Korea, gave birth after being released to the wild.

According to park authorities, researchers from the Species Restoration Center found the cubs and the mother on Feb. 23. The team made the discovery when the members visited a cave on the mountain.

They were there to replace a transmitter placed on the female bear. The bear was brought into Korea in 2005 from Russia. It was one of the 27 half-moon bears that have been released on the mountain since 2004 to live in the wild as a part of the endangered species restoration project. Only 17 survived. The researchers said two cubs and the mother were resting inside the cave when they were found. The mother’s activity was slower because it was winter hibernation time, but she attempted to protect the cubs when the researchers tried to take a photo.

The team anesthetized the mother, replaced the transmitter and checked the cubs ?? a female and male. They are believed to have been born around early January, based on their weights.

“A half-moon bear is pregnant for about 180 to 200 days,” Yang Doo-ha of the research center said. “The mother is believed to have become pregnant sometime between May and July of last year and gave birth in January.”

“We need at least 50 bears in the wild to preserve this species and this birth is encouraging,” Song Dong-ju, head of the restoration center, said.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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