Formosan black bear like the one found in Hualien
A Formosan black bear with cub

In a rare non-COVID-19 related news story coming out of Taiwan, the death of a rare Formosan black bear has been solved.

Reports in Taiwan now indicate that the corpse of a bear discovered in rural Hualien, on Taiwan’s east coast was not killed by illegal hunting or any other human activity.

According to a local Forestry Bureau official in the region, no sign of bullets, associated wounds or otherwise were discovered on or near the bear.

The bear was first discovered in mid-March not far from a small aboriginal Bunun village in Zhuoxi in the south of Hualien country.

Injuries on the bear at the time of discovery included severe lacerations to its abdomen. Later investigations discovered internal organs to be missing; although this was likely the result of other nearby carnivorous predators foraging after he animal had died.

The bear was subsequently transferred to the Animal Health Research Institute, a facility in north west Taiwan’s Tamsui district in New Taipei City.

Case Solved

Further examination on the body of the bear included blood tests for several animal related diseases such as distemper and rabies. All were also ruled out, as was a test for coronavirus the report said.

Officials back in Hualien also concluded that signs of distress at the base of a cliff near where the carcass was found indicate a fall and injuries suffered during the descent were the main reasons for the bear’s demise.

Locals and regional Forestry Bureau officials took part in a post-discovery search for any possible cubs only to find none.

The Formosan black bear is endemic to Taiwan and has been categorised as “an endangered species under Taiwan’s Culture Heritage and Conservation Law (since) 1989.

They are also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), banning all international trade of any products derived from the species.”

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