How many species of bear are there?

There are eight species of bear in the world. Brown bears are the most widely spread species, with a distinctive shoulder hump. Black bears are found in forests of North America and are the most abundant species. Asiatic black bears have a distinctive white crescent shape on their chest, while polar bears are the largest species, residing in and around the Arctic. Sloth bears are unique-looking with long, shaggy black fur and protruding muzzles. Giant panda bears are the rarest bear species, found in China.

Among the smallest of all the bear species, and also one of the rarest, is the Sun bear, while the spectacled bear is the only species living in South America. These creatures have distinctive light-coloured rings around their eyes, hence their common name.