I barely go a day without drawing. Although I began the ‘art’ section of my blog by sharing my paintings, I’ve also been eager to share my drawings and illustrations. Drawing and sketching was my first love prior to painting, and is something I really enjoy doing. Most days I find some inspiration from my nearby surroundings and just do a simple sketch, but other days I find myself sat for hours focused on an intricate drawing.
The other day, I turned to the internet for inspiration. I love drawing portraits, and decided to draw an animal. After some consideration, I chose to draw a bear. Upon my search, I was lead to an old article from 2010 by National Geographic about the Most Endangered Bears. I clicked on the link and read the post, however just the title was enough to give me my inspiration. The article itself made me incredibly upset, and left me wanting to do something that would hopefully bring some help.
I am aware that the article is 5 years old, so I combined my facts with more recent figures from the IUCN Red List. I was just so affected by this article that I needed to find a way to raise some awareness for this issue. By creating this post, I hope that after reading you’ll be left thinking more deeply about our impact on the world. I hope this inspires you to do something to help conserve and protect the planet, and perhaps help one of the many species currently facing the threat of extinction in our world.
These drawings became illustrations! I used a mixture of watercolour paints and pens to create them.
1. Giant Panda Bear
Only 1,000 – 2,000 of this bear currently remain in the wild, and it is part of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It’s major threat is loss of habitat, and destruction of Bamboo, a plant which takes up 99% of their diet. (source).
2. Sun Bear
The worlds smallest bear is thought to have declined 30% in numbers over the past 30 years. It’s greatest threat is due to loss of habitat and hunting, leaving the bear regionally extinct in Singapore, and Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. (source).
3. Asiatic Black Bear
Thought to have declined in numbers by up to 49% over the past 30 years, this bear is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It’s major threats are from the commercial trade hunting them for their parts, and a loss of habitat due to logging and human expansion over the land. (source).
4. Sloth Bear
Often captured alive and made to perform on the streets, a major threat these bears face is from human activity. Poaching for commercial trade and loss of habitat are some of the reasons why the Sloth Bear is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. (source).
5. Andean Bear
This bear currently faces a loss of 2-4% of their natural habitat per year, and has seen their population decline by around 30% over the last 30 years. It’s survival is mainly threatened by habitat destruction and poaching, which has left it Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. (source).
6. Polar Bear
A huge threat Polar Bears currently face is due to the impact of global warming on their habitat. With a prediction of 10-50% declines in sea ice by 2100, the problems for the bear are currently increasing. Due to the loss of habitat, the bear also faces a decline in access of their prey, and therefore food. Other threats also include poaching and exposure to high levels of toxic pollutants from the ocean. (source).
7. Brown Bear
On a more positive note, the Brown Bear is currently at a stable level and listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List! Although small areas of habitat where the bears live face threat from isolation, their numbers tend to be increasing. However, these bears still face the threats of poaching, hunting and habitat fragmentation due to human settlement. (source).
8. American Black Bear
After being eradicated from large portions of their historic habitats due to loss of space and exploitation, this bear is now thankfully labelled as Least Concern by the IUCN. Due to considerable funding and conservation, this bears population is now considered to be at a stable rate. However, they do still face concern from human activity, such as vehicular collisions and loss of land space.
I thought it was best to leave the post on a more positive note, sharing the bears whose population that is of a stable rate. Let’s hope that one day we will see the same good news for the other 6.
If you have been inspired by this post and would like to help the bears, or any animal in need, there are many great options for donating which can be found on the WWF website: