Himalayan Brown Bear Yeti

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Hikers in Tibet and the Himalayas need not fear the monstrous yeti—but they’d darn well better carry bear spray. DNA analyses of nine samples purported to be from the “abominable snowman” reveal that eight actually came from various species of bears native to the area.

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International trade is prohibited by the Wildlife Protection Act in Pakistan. Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) in Pakistan conducts research on the current status of Himalayan brown bears in the Pamir Range in Gilgit-Baltistan, a promising habitat for the bears and a wildlife corridor connecting bear populations in Pakistan to central Asia. The project also intends to investigate the conflicts humans have with the bears, while promoting tolerance for bears in the region through environmental education. SLF received funding from the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund and Alertis. Unlike its American cousin, which is found in good numbers, the Himalayan brown bear is critically endangered. They are poached for their fur and claws for ornamental purposes and internal organs for use in medicines. They are killed by shepherds to protect their livestock and their home is destroyed by human encroachment. In Himachal, their home is the Kugti and Tundah wildlife sanctuaries and the tribal Chamba region. Their estimated population is just 20 in Kugti and 15 in Tundah. The tree bearing the state flower of Himachal, buransh, is the favourite hangout of the bear. Due to the high value of the buransh tree, it is being commercially cut causing further destruction to the brown bear’s home. The Himalayan brown bear is a critically endangered species in some of its range with a population of only 150-200 in Pakistan. The populations in Pakistan are slow reproducing, small, and declining because of habitat loss, fragmentation, poaching, and bear-baiting.

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