Healthy Formosan black bear spotted in eastern Taiwan

Taitung's Forestry Bureau installed cameras in the forest with the hope of better observing wild animals

A Formosan black bear (Photo courtesy of Taitung's Forestry Bureau)

A Formosan black bear (Photo courtesy of Taitung's Forestry Bureau)

TAIPEI (Taiwan New) — An endangered species known as the Formosan black bear was spotted by CCTV, showing that the work of wildlife conservation had gradually come into effect, said Taitung’s Forestry Bureau on Friday.

The Formosan black bear, also known as the white-throated bear, is a species endemic to Taiwan. The bear is characterized by a distinctive yellowish or white mark that is in the shape of a "V" or a boomerang on its chest.

Liu Chiung-lien (劉瓊蓮), head of the forest administration, said the bureau installed infrared cameras in the Li-jia Major Wildlife Habitat in Taitung County last December and was surprised by footage showing a Formosan black bear strolling in the forest.

Liu said judging from the video, the bear was in good health with a sturdy look and stable tread. Unfortunately, we could not tell its sex, added Liu.

The bureau pointed out that the cameras had captured traces of other wildlife in addition to the bear, including Reeves's muntjacs, Taiwan serows, sambar deer, Formosan rock macaques, among many others.

The Li-jia Major Wildlife Habitat and the surrounding area is a popular destination for hiking and other outdoor activities. The bureau urged those who visit the habitat to protect the natural environment.

The bureau added it would be fine to appreciate wild animals at a distance, but interfering, touching, or feeding animals was strongly prohibited.

The number of Formosan black bears is scarce due to years of hunting for profit or for cultural practices of indigenous peoples. The bears have been listed as endangered animals and protected by the country's Cultural Heritage Preservation Law and Wildlife Conservation Act since 1989.

Reports of recording or seeing the Formosan black bear are rare and it is not known exactly how many bears still exist because of their natural inclination to live at high altitudes and in remote areas, and avoid human beings.

Formosan rock macaques (Photo courtesy of Taitung's Forestry Bureau)

A sambar deer (Photo courtesy of Taitung's Forestry Bureau)

A Reeves's muntjac with its child (Photo courtesy of Taitung's Forestry Bureau)