Himalayan Brown Bears _ UPSC

Himalayan Brown Bears | UPSC


Outlook bleak for Himalayan brown bears

      WHY IN NEWS:

Study predicts massive habitat decline by year 2050 due to climate change

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Flora and Fauna : IUCN


For PRELIMS go with the IUCN status global and also regional . Both are different ! We have mentioned Global status in this article .

For MAINS capture threats , habitat conservation process and the behaviour of the animal .


A recent study on the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) has predicted a significant reduction in suitable habitat and biological corridors of the species due to climate change.


The study carried out in the western Himalayas by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) .


  • The Himalayan brown bear is one of the largest carnivores in the highlands of the Himalayas.

ZSI predicted a massive decline of 73% of the bear’s habitat by the year 2050.

  • This reduction in habitat will also result in loss of habitats from 13 protected areas (PAs)
  • Eight of them will become completely uninhabitable by the year 2050, followed by loss of connectivity in the majority of PAs.
  • Simulation suggests a significant qualitative decline in remaining habitats of the species within the protected areas of the landscape


The Himalayan brown bear is the world’s largest terrestrial carnivore.

  • It is considerably smaller than its more famed relatives the Grizzly and the Kodiak bears.
  • However, it s still a very large bear with  a thick reddish brown coat with no clear chest markings is seen.


  • This species exists in small isolated populations in the fragmented alpine and subalpine habitats.
  • Himalayan brown bears live in remote parts of the western Himalayas.

It occupies higher reaches of the Himalayas in remote, mountainous areas of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet .

  • Its populations are small and isolated, and it is extremely rare in many parts of its range.

Himalayan Brown Bears _ UPSC


  • The Himalayan brown bear is primarily a plant-eater with 90% of its food consisting of fruits, figs, leaves, and grass.

It also eats fish, rodents, and insects.#Omnivorous .

  • It is locally also called ‘spang drenmo’ meaning ‘grass-bear’ or a vegetarian bear.


  • This is the least arboreal bear and is largely terrestrial as an adaptation to life in the rolling uplands above the tree line .

It hibernates in winter.


  • This study though was from 2006 and since then, there has been little data available on the population or distribution of brown bears in India.

Approximately 500-700 individuals has been an estimation since 2006. (SOURCES : MONGABAY)

  • This is mostly due to their elusive nature and the rugged landscape where they survive which makes it difficult for researchers.


  • Political boundaries block connection of the last few strongholds of the Himalayan brown bear.

Despite being listed under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, the Himalayan brown bear faces an uphill task to survive.

  • Globally elusive carnivores are severely impacted by habitat loss, human disturbance, and climate change.
  • Increased instances of human–bear conflict which is a serious conservation threat to the long term viability of the species.


Himalayan Brown Bears | UPSC

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The elevation gradient in which the brown bear is distributed is most vulnerable to global warming.
  • As this elevation belt is getting warmer faster than other elevation zones of Himalayas.

Intensive sampling and long-term monitoring of Brown Bears is necessary for human focused decisions for securing the future of the species .

  • Such studies are very crucial as the habitat of such species is highly vulnerable to climate and unless we plan in advance, we cannot sustain its population in future.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Himalayan Brown Bears | UPSC



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