Facts about Himalayan Brown Bear, "Scientific name for Himalayan Brown Bear is Ursus arctos". It is a subspecies of the wide-ranging common brown bear. The Himalayan brown bear is related to the Eurasian brown bear. The Himalayan brown bear is common in the Siberian forests to its north but evolved into a distinct subspecies due to the geographic isolation caused by the Himalayan Mountains.
Appearance of Himalayan Brown Bear
The Himalayan brown bear, also known as the Himalayan red bear, dzu-teh (Tibetan name) and isabelline bear, is a reddish brown color. Himalayan brown bears are larger than almost anything else in their habitat.
Physical Characteristics of Himalayan Brown Bear
Male Himalayan Brown Bear range from five to seven feet (1.52 to 2.13 meters) in length, while female Himalayan Brown Bear are four and a half to six feet (1.37 to 1.82 meters) in length. Himalayan brown bears are larger than the Himalayan blue bear and are the largest animal in the Himalayan Mountains.
This bear has a big head, small eyes, and stocky limbs.
Behavior of Himalayan Brown Bear
Himalayan brown bears hibernate from October through April. They either sleep in natural caves or dens.
Most Himalayan brown bears are diurnal, with a period of activity early in the morning and another later in the afternoon. The Himalayan brown bear will eat before sunrise and then in the afternoon. Some bears have become nocturnal to avoid humans.
The Himalayan brown bear is an omnivore. The Himalayan brown bear eats grass, roots, insects, fruits, berries and small mammals it can catch like gerbils and marmots. The Himalayan brown bear sometimes eats larger prey like sheep and goats, if available, and will browse on carcasses. The state flower of Himachal in northern India is a favorite food; human harvesting of this plant is curtailing their available food resources. They will not confront humans except when defending themselves and their cubs.
The Himalayan brown bear is called the grass bear by locals because it is overwhelmingly vegetarian. The Asian black bear, Ursus thibetanus, is called the non-vegetarian bear because it more readily goes after livestock. The bears on the Tibetan plateau are more carnivorous, primarily living on pika because the rain shadow of the Himalayas mean there is very little forage for the bears. Bears studied in Pakistan avoid areas that have been grazed by cattle, in part because of forage loss and partially to avoid humans who will kill them to protect the livestock.
The Himalayan brown bear is solitary except during mating season and mothers raising cubs.
Habitat of Himalayan Brown Bear
The Himalayan brown bear shares a similar habitat, the Himalayan Mountains, with the Himalayan blue bear. The Himalayan brown bear is found in Nepal and Tibet and thought to be extinct in Bhutan. Several dozen Himalayan brown bears live in Pakistan, but that population is declining. Most of those live in Deosai National Park. Several hundred Himalayan brown bears live in India across 23 different protected areas. This subspecies of brown bear is considered critically endangered by the IUCN.
The Himalayan brown bear prefers to stay above the timber line, staying at elevations of 10,000 to 18,000 feet.
Trivia about Himalayan Brown Bear
The Himalayan brown bear may be the source of the Yeti legend. The word dzu-teh is used in reference to both the bear and the Yeti.
The biggest threat to the Himalayan brown bear is no longer human hunters seeking food or protecting livestock. Instead, it is hunters killing them for their fur and claws to make souvenirs for sale and collecting bear bile for Chinese herbal medicine.