Facts about Gobi Bear, "Scientific name for Gobi Bear is Ursus arctos gobiensis". The Gobi Bear is highly endangered, with an estimated three dozen still alive in the wild. The Gobi Bear is considered the world’s rarest bear. Its species name is Ursus arctos gobiensis. Further genetic testing may determine if it is more closely related to the isabellinus subspecies. However, the genetic testing has shown that Gobi Bears have lived in their habitat for a very long time and that these rare bears may be the closest living relatives to the ancestral brown bear that later spread across Europe and Asia.
Appearance of Gobi Bear
The species was confirmed to exist in 1943 when a Russian scientist came to see if human like creatures truly wandered the Gobi. The Gobi Bears were found to be smaller than most other brown bears, with bronze fur that is closer to the desert’s beige tones than the dark brown of their relatives to the north. They sometimes have blazes of white on the neck and front legs.
The Gobi Bear survives in the high, dry Gobi desert in Mongolia and China. The Gobi desert is the world’s fifth largest desert, and these bears survive in a dry climate that drops to -40F in the winter and 120F in the summer.
These bears have thick brown fur and black rings around their eyes. At a hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty pounds, they are small for brown bears. They have thick belly fur because they don’t gain as much fat as their peers. They tend to sleep in caves or semi-exposed because the Gobi Desert lacks soil to dig deep burrows into.
Behavior of Gobi Bear
Historically, the diet of bears was up to 85% meat. This diet changes once they come into competition with humans; humans consume many of the smaller mammals that bears would eat, as well as kill the bears that try to steal or kill goats, sheep, and other livestock. The diet of most bears today, barring polar bears, is 75% vegetarian, consisting of roots, fruit, berries, some grains, and other foods. Wild Rhubarb is one of the mainstays of the Gobi bear’s diet. Wild onions, bunchgrass and wildflowers make up part of their diet. A large part of the remainder of their diet consists of insects like termites, grasshoppers, and grubs. They readily consume gerbils and hamsters they come across. Habitat deterioration in the Gobi has eroded the food resources available to the bears.
The Mongolian government has set up grain pellets in bear feeders in the Gobi Desert to make up for the natural forage lost due to livestock overgrazing.
Habitat of Gobi Bear
This bear is native to the Gobi Desert, though its relative Eurasian Bears range throughout Siberia. The Gobi Bear is the only bears that live exclusively in a desert habitat. The Gobi Bear’s numbers and range plummeted after the Soviet Union took over Mongolia and dramatically expanded livestock grazing into the desert. They provided hunters with guns, which led to hunting of the bears for foods and pelts as well as shooting those that attacked livestock.
The Gobi Bear is one of the few bear populations that is not represented in zoos. All known Gobi Bears live in the Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area or GGSPA, their range centering on several natural oasis.
Trivia about Gobi Bear
The Blue Bear may be a subspecies of the Gobi Brown Bear.
The Mongolian government made 2013 the Year of the Gobi Bear.
The Gobi Bear is probably the source of the legend of the Mazaalai, a Yeti like creature. The distantly related Himalayan Blue Bear itself is the likely source of the legend of the Yeti, an opinion solidified when Sir Hillary’s expedition in 1960 came back with fur they said came from the Yeti and tests proved it came from a Blue Bea