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Bears of the Himalayan Mountains

India brotherbear Offline
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http://news.mongabay.com/2014/05/a-sketc...rown-bear/ 
  
Overall, the brown bear is one of the most widespread bear species in the world, found in much of Eurasia and North America, in quite large numbers. A subspecies called the Himalayan brown bear is not so fortunate. It occupies higher reaches of the Himalayas in remote, mountainous areas of Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet and India. Its populations are small and isolated, and it is extremely rare in many parts of its range.

Over the last ten years, researchers in Pakistan, Nepal and India have been chalking out the status of the subspecies (Ursus arctos isabellinus), by conducting field surveys for bear signs and through conversations with local people. The bear populations in some parts of Nepal and the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (TAR) belong to a separate subspecies (U. a. pruinosus), divided by a gap in distribution of the two subspecies between western Nepal and India. Political boundaries block connection of the last few strongholds of the Himalayan brown bear, with increased human presence and livestock conflicts worsening the situation. 
 
The Himalayan brown bear is one of the most ancient brown bear lineages. It’s a very large animal, with a big head, small eyes and stocky limbs. It is believed by some that the bear’s ability to walk upright probably gave rise to the legend of the Yeti or “Abominable Snowman.” People from the area call the brown bear “spang drenmo” (“spang” means grass and “drenmo” means bear), literally meaning “vegetarian bear.” The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), on the other hand, is called “shai drenmo” (“shai” means meat), or non-vegetarian bear.

Although locals call it a vegetarian, the Himalayan brown bear is actually an omnivore. They are found above the timberline, between 3,000 and 5,500 meters (9,800 and 18,000 feet) above sea level. The bear depends on the sparse herbaceous vegetation in the area, supplemented by occasional small mammals like the Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana) in Nepal and the golden marmot (Marmota caudata) in Pakistan. Interestingly, the bears on the Tibetan plateau are primarily carnivorous, feeding mainly on the plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae).
In India, not much is known about the Himalayan brown bear. A questionnaire survey among forest officials in 2006 conducted by Sambandam Sathyakumar from the Wildlife Institute of India put the number at 500 to 750, spread among 23 protected areas and 18 other localities in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Their potential habitat range in India is estimated at 4,300 square kilometers (about 1,660 square miles), of which very little is protected. 
 
The Himalayan brown bear is found in three major mountain ranges, Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Western Himalaya, and four inter-mountain highlands. Initial surveys showed that its range is highly varied, encompassing an elevational zone from 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) in the south to above 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) in the north. This area features a wide range of climatic conditions, from arid cold desert to monsoon fed moist forest, and supports a variety of vegetation, from alpine desert to coniferous forest.

To determine which habitat was most preferred by the bear, Muhammad Ali Nawaz of the Quaid-i-Azam University/Snow Leopard Trust worked with researchers from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and University of Lyon, to carry out a study at Deosai National Park in northern Pakistan. This park supports one of the densest populations of Himalayan brown bears, and an array of different habitat types that allowed for an investigation into habitat preferences.
Deosai was established in 1993, at which time there were only about 20 bears. With careful management, the population grew over the next ten years; Nawaz was able to count about 56 individuals in 2012. The main mode of management was zonation – dividing the park into a core area with minimal human disturbance and having a “buffer” area around where some human activity like grazing was allowed. The sparse vegetation bears depend on is also the lifeline for nomadic herders called Gujjars, who graze their livestock in the areas around the park. Balancing the needs of wildlife and livestock is an added challenge for park management. 
 
The area was divided into five blocks, in which Nawaz started with something simple — scat surveys. These are often the best proxies for actually seeing bears, which are very hard to find. Nawaz also took into consideration habitat type and features, such as marshes and grasslands, snowfields and rocky areas. The park was also classified into different grades according to human use, such as grazing, harvesting, roads and tourism.

Nawaz and his team uncovered important information about bear habitat preferences. Brown bears selected marshy, stony and grassy vegetation types, and avoided rocky areas. Marshy areas were especially popular because they generally supported high densities of golden marmots. Unfortunately, the researchers found that the area designated by Deosai park authorities as the “core” of the protected zone contained habitat that was just 14 percent high-quality, while half was poor bear habitat.

There was one additional clear trend — bears avoided areas where there was a lot of grazing. This is a cause for worry, because the number of livestock in Deosai has been increasing, from about 5,000 head in 2003 to 8,000-9,000 head in 2007. Due to the already sparse vegetation, the researchers found that Deosai cannot possibly support livestock without impacting bears.
To summarize, Nawaz and his team found that brown bears prefer lower elevations, gentler slopes and areas with less grazing. Surprisingly, this is in stark contrast to their preferred habitat in Nepal.  
Historically, the Himalayan brown bear was present in Nepal and Bhutan. However, the species is presumed extinct in Bhutan. In Nepal, a 2010 study by Achyut Aryal and others reported records of the bear in the Manasulu Conservation Area.

Using field surveys and interviews with local people, much like Nawaz in Pakistan, Aryal found clear evidence for the continued existence of the bear. He found scat, excavations made by bears to dig out the Himalayan marmot and tracks. While interviewing people, Aryal used photographs of both brown and black bears to avoid confusion, as Asiatic black bears (Urus thibetanus) also inhabit the region.

Local herders had an interesting observation to make. Brown bears were a recent sighting in the area, and their theory is that the bears came to Nepal from the adjoining Tibetan Autonomous Region. People don’t kill marmots in the area, which makes them abundant and which is what probably attracted the bears. Scat analysis confirmed that marmots are a major food source for brown bears in the area.

In Nepal, Aryal found that brown bears avoid high-altitude meadows and preferred forested areas at lower elevations, probably because they could not find food at high altitudes.

“The habitat preference of the brown bear in Pakistan is totally different from where it’s found in Nepal,” said Aryal. “We cannot easily find marshy areas at the high elevations brown bears occupy here.”

Brown bears seem to seek out the most productive parts of any environment, using the next-best habitat when their favorite isn’t available. Nawaz discusses this adaptability at length in his study.
“In northern Pakistan (spread across Himalaya, Karakoram, and Pamir ranges), forest cover is limited. The area is dominated by rock/ice, scrub and alpine pastures,” Nawaz writes. “In this scenario, alpine pastures are the most productive habitats, and consequently selected by the brown bear.” 
 
The Himalayan brown bear continues to persist, albeit in fragmented populations. There are points of contact between the Indian and Pakistani brown bear populations, along the Zanskar and Ladakh ranges. Movement of bears has been documented across the border, especially in some areas of military conflict where development has not taken place.

Still, Deosai National Park in Pakistan has the largest population of Himalayan brown bears in the region; it is also one of the few places where their habitat is protected. Nawaz says that the Himalayan Wildlife Foundation in Pakistan is planning to support the government in developing a new management plan for Deosai this year, which will be developed based on his recent paper. The revamped zoning plan will accommodate ecotourism and other resource use in a sustainable manner. 

 

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India brotherbear Offline
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#2

Post #1 is about Ursus arctos isabellinus, the Himalayan brown bear which is also called the Himalayan red bear. Even though they can be found in India, tropical jungles are among the few environments where brown bears have never been discovered. Only in fantasy, as in the new 2016 Disney movie, 'The Jungle Book.' 
 
             
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India brotherbear Offline
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http://blog.nature.org/science/2013/04/0...lue-bears/ 
 
Why is it that when you are trying to be the quietest, you inevitably drop or bang something noisy? Well, at least that’s my experience.
The ice that just cracked under my foot was like a window breaking.
The bear sleeping on the bank of the river exploded with a roar.
Within a few seconds it was covering the frozen ground towards us at break-neck speed. My friend Hamish and I raised our airhorns above our heads and squeezed. The bear kept coming. Then just as the horns started to wheeze their last exhale of compressed air, the bear registered the sound and pulled up.
Standing less than 80 feet from us was one of the rarest bears on the planet, the Tibetan blue bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus).
We didn’t speak, there wasn’t anything to say. We both knew that our air horns were exhausted and that in retrospect we should have had a plan to let off one then the other. 
The bear stared at us with lips curled back. We stood frozen holding our bikes. It wasn’t more than a few seconds – time enough to process the gravity of the situation – before the bear turned and retreated. Twenty feet at first, then all the way to the bank, then half way up the sand dune, at each point turning to observe and perhaps reevaluate its decision to retreat, then finally over the top of the dune and out of sight. This was the first bear we had seen on the expedition.

“Holy [expletive].”
“These air horns just saved our lives.” 
With trembling hands we tore into Hamish’s bike trailer to retrieve the bike pump attachment required to recharge our air horns.

Tibetan blue bears, a subspecies of brown bear, are spectacular. With a luxurious blue-grey coat, big white collar, black legs and black teddy-bear ears, they can look almost like a cross between a grizzly and a panda. Seeing them up close (too close you might say), it surprised me that so few people know about them. 

The reason why very few people know of or see this bear is because it lives in one of the world’s most inhospitable places. It is mid-autumn and the temperature is -22 Fahrenheit, and that’s not considering the ferocious wind scouring the almost vegetation-free plain around us. The altitude hasn’t dropped below 16,400 feet (5000m) for over a week of travel and progress is only possible when we’re not sheltering from storms that carry a biting mix of snow and sand.

It is a place captivating in its hostility. A land where giant sand dunes rest against towering glaciated peaks. A land of impassable mud in summer and punishing cold in winter. Of wild animals living on the roof of the world.

We are on the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau where the provinces of Qinghai and Xinjiang join the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR); a place too inhospitable for even the hardy Tibetan nomads to use. This is not the Tibet of documentaries. It is a landscape very few people know about, hidden in the centre of a continent.
The northern part of the Tibetan Plateau is home to three giant nature preserves. The Qiangtang in the TAR, Aerjinshan in Xingjiang, and Kekexili in Qinghai. Other than the Greenland icesheet, this cluster of parks forms the biggest contiguous terrestrial protected area on the planet.  A roadless wilderness bigger than Montana. Heavy travel restrictions, impassable mountain ranges, altitude, and ferocious conditions have made it one of the least visited places on the planet.  
Despite, or perhaps because of, the extreme climate, wildlife is abundant here. The natural and political fortification of this part of the Tibetan Plateau have made it a sanctuary for a number of formally widespread animals such as the Tibetan antelope or chiru (Pantholops hodgsoni), wild yaks (Bos grunniens), and of course, bears.

My friend Hamish Reid and I had come to see this remote wilderness and its denizens first hand. Our plan was to cross Aerjinshan and Kekexili on mountain bikes. In doing so, we would join a very small handful of adventures (including names like Conrad Anker) to cross this region under their own steam.
For three weeks our only company would be aggressive bears, inquisitive wolves, defensive yaks, and some of the most testing conditions on our planet. In coming blogs I’ll share some of our experiences and encounters of life on the northern plateau.

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India brotherbear Offline
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#4

Tibetan Blue Bear, Ursus arctos pruinosus.
 

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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-24-2016, 03:21 PM by sanjay Edit Reason: corrected the format )

The highly endangered blue bear - http://knowledgebase.lookseek.com/Blue-Bear.html 

Title :Blue Bear 
Category: Bear    
Facts about Tibetan Blue Bear, "Scientific name for Blue Bear is Ursus arctos pruinosus". The Blue Bear is also called the Tibetan Bear, Tibetan Blue Bear, Himalayan Blue Bear, Tibetan Brown Bear, Himalayan Snow Bear, Horse Bear and Ursus arctos. In Tibetan, the Blue Bear is called dom gyamuk. 

Related Species of Blue Bear
The Himalayan Blue Bear is a separate species from the Himalayan Black Bear, species name Selenarctos thibetanus laniger. The Himalayan Black Bear has black fur and a light brown muzzle. They are a little shorter than the Blue Bear. The Himalayan Blue Bear is also a separate species from the Ursus arctos isabellinus or Isabellinus or Himalayan Brown Bear. The Ursus arctos isabellinus or Himalayan Brown Bear, also known as the Himalayan Red Bear, is smaller than the Blue Bear and more reddish or tan in color. 

Appearance of Tibetan Blue Bear
This Blue Bear is a cold-adapted version of the Asian Brown Bear. It may or may not be a subspecies of the Gobi Brown Bear. The face is usually reddish yellow. The adults have a ring of beige fur on the neck and chest. Young Tibetan Blue Bear are lighter in color than the adults.
The Blue Bear is rarely seen in the wild, and most of what is known about it comes from fur and bone samples. It was identified as a subspecies in 1854 from these remnants. It may or may not be extinct in the wild today.

Physical Characteristics Blue Bear
The Blue Bear receives its name for the white outer coat mixed with brown that results in a blue tint to its fur.
They grow to be six to seven feet (two meters) in length, one meter at the shoulder.
Cubs stay with the mother for at least a year. They reach sexual maturity at three to four years of age. 

Behavior of Tibetan Blue Bear
The Yeti is regularly reported in snow fields and on high snowy peaks. Bears rarely venture this high except in search of mates or in times of food scarcity.
All of the Himalayan Bears are diurnal. The Tibetan Blue Bear are most active around sunrise and sunset, but many have shifted to nocturnal activity to avoid predation by humans. The Blue Bear eat pretty much anything, from nuts, fruit, honey, insects, and roots. The Blue Bear will attack livestock like sheep, goats, and cattle if their natural foods are lacking. They primarily only attack humans if their cubs are threatened.
They hibernate through the winter, with mothers giving birth while hibernating.

Habitat Blue Bear
It is native to the western part of the Himalayas. It is found in eastern Tibet’s mountains, western China, Nepal, and sometimes in Bhutan. It tends to live near the tree line at high altitudes.

Trivia about Blue Bear
The Blue Bear may actually be the inspiration for the story of the Yeti. For example, Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1960 expedition for the Yeti brought back scraps of fur that were identified later as belonging to the Blue Bear.
The Blue Bear is considered highly endangered, as is the Gobi Bear. The Blue Bear’s greatest threat is not hunters seeking food and pelts but the bear’s bile for use in Chinese medicine.
Trade blue bear products is prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES.
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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-24-2016, 03:24 PM by brotherbear )

Both the Himalayan brown bear ( red bear ) U.a. isabelloinsus and the Tibetan brown bear ( blue bear ) U.a. pruinosus are critically endangered. 
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtupQfa4dfI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpEWUaadYeg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNi6binkxHU
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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 05-01-2018, 08:29 PM by Rishi )

http://everything.explained.today/Asian_black_bear/ 
 
The Asian black bear's range overlaps with that of sloth bears in Terai & Northeastern India, sun bears in Southeast Asia and brown bears in the southern part of the Russian Far East. Ussuri brown bears may attack black bears, though Himalayan brown bears seem to be intimidated by the black species in direct encounters. They will eat the fruit dropped by black bears from trees, as they themselves are too large and cumbersome to climb. 
 
    
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India brotherbear Offline
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Himalayan brown bear ( red bear ) Ursus arctos isabellinus. 
 
                                                             
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United States tigerluver Offline
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#9

The brown bear is like a cave lion, spread across a very, very vast range. I guess their omnivorous nature allowed them to survive into the modern age while still keeping such range.
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India brotherbear Offline
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(04-26-2016, 08:10 AM)tigerluver Wrote: The brown bear is like a cave lion, spread across a very, very vast range. I guess their omnivorous nature allowed them to survive into the modern age while still keeping such range.

Yes, I believe that being an omnivore provides a great many advantages. First on the list is of course more food options. Also, by not being a specialized hunter, a bear can have the bulk of a herbivore including a heavy bone structure and being thickly muscled. This being said, on the flip side, bears are not considered to be as proficient at killing large prey as a full-time predator. In today's world, being an omnivore means somewhat less fear from trigger-happy humans.   
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India brotherbear Offline
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The Himalayan Mountains.
                                             
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India brotherbear Offline
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#12

Gobi Bear 
                 
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India brotherbear Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-23-2016, 06:39 PM by brotherbear )

http://www.scirecordbook.org/himalayan-brown-bear/  
 

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India brotherbear Offline
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Sad  ( This post was last modified: 12-24-2016, 02:38 AM by brotherbear )

Post #16... I had to research; Mideastern brown bear is the Syrian brown bear. I will edit and add... being so close to Africa, I wonder if the Syrian brown bear might be the same bear as the extinct Atlas bear; or a close relative?    Happy
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India brotherbear Offline
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I was just comparing this map with the map on post #16. It appears to be possible for the Bengal tigers of the Himalayan Mountains to come into contact with the Himalayan brown bears. These bears, also called the "red bear" is among the smallest and most vegetarian of the brown bears. If so, these bears are very likely on the tiger's menu. Curious... 
http://www.himalayantigers.org/research-program/ 
 
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