On a solitary trail

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The Himalayan Brown Bear has found its way into the Red Data Book. This majestic creature is now listed as “vulnerable” and may not be around for long if ignored.

Earth is home to eight different species of bears three of which are found in India—- tge Asiatic Black Bear  the Himalayan Brown Bear and the Sloth Bear. The family of brown bear is large comprising 16 subspecies distributed in North America Eastern and Western Eurasia. Of these the Himalayan Brown Bear is the smallest in size  and in population too,download (1)Habits and traits

“Also known as the Himalayan Red Bear the colour of these bears varies from reddish brown to light sandy shades. This bear is characterised by the distinctive hump on its shoulders a slightly dished face and long claws on the front paws” says Dr. Bipan C Rathore who has done research on these animals.images (1)“Winter Dormancy” or hibernation is one interesting feature in the life of a bear. Usually in November Brown Bears move into natural caves coming out only in March. During this period their body temperature heartbeat and other metabolic activities are reduced and hence they have no requirement for food and water.bear_brown

“Brown Bears are solitary animals and are generally seen grazing alone. During the mating season between May and July couples are seen together for around two weeks. Baby Bears are born during winter and the cubs stay with the mother through the summer. Though Brown Bears are omnivorous they mainly feed on grass and roots” adds Dr Rathore.

In the Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature the brown bear is listed as “vulnerable” recently the Forest Department of Himachal Pradesh proposed establishing a Captive Conservation Breeding Centre for both brown bears and Western Tragopan in Bharmour. With this venture it is hoped that the declining population of these wonderful creatures will be augmented.downloadIn dire straits

Wildlife conservationists say that the Himalayan brown bear faces two major threats. The first is the loss of their high altitude habitat and the second is hunting.

Bears are chased away from their natural habitat by human activity such as logging mining and agriculture. Poachers hunt these bears and sell the body parts as they are rumoured to have medicinal properties. Their furs also fetch a handsome price in the markets. Of course some of the hunting is simply for sport as people get a thrill in killing these large animals.

 

Courtesy     APARNA MENON     THE HINDU YOUNGWORLD

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