Tibetan blue bear

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Ursus arctos pruinosus
Tibetan Blue Bear - Ursus arctos pruinosus - Joseph Smit crop.jpg
CITES Appendix I (CITES)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species:
Subspecies:
U. a. pruinosus
Trinomial name
Ursus arctos pruinosus
Blyth, 1854

The Tibetan bear or Tibetan blue bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus) [1] is a subspecies of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) found in the eastern Tibetan Plateau. It is also known as the Himalayan blue bear, [2] Himalayan snow bear, Tibetan brown bear, or the horse bear. In Tibetan, it is known as Dom gyamuk.

Contents

1917 photo of two Tibetan bear cubs The American Museum journal (c1900-(1918)) (17975206579).jpg
1917 photo of two Tibetan bear cubs

One of the rarest subspecies of bear in the world, the blue bear is rarely sighted in the wild. The blue bear is known in the West only through a small number of fur and bone samples. It was first classified in 1854.

Taxonomic history

The Gobi bear is sometimes classified as being of the same subspecies as the Tibetan blue bear; this is based on morphological similarities, and the belief that the desert-dwelling Gobi bear represents a relict population of the blue bear. However, the Gobi bear is sometimes classified as its own subspecies, and closely resembles other Asian brown bears.

Range and habitat

It is possible that the occasional specimen might be observed traveling through high mountain peaks during times of reduced food supply, or in search of a mate. However, the limited information available about the habits and range of the blue bear makes such speculation difficult to confirm.

Conservation status

Mrs. Yvette Borup Andrews (wife of Roy Chapman Andrews) feeding Tibetan Bear cub in 1917 The American Museum journal (c1900-(1918)) (17540841703).jpg
Mrs. Yvette Borup Andrews (wife of Roy Chapman Andrews) feeding Tibetan Bear cub in 1917

The exact conservation status of the blue bear is unknown, due to limited information. However, in the United States trading blue bear specimens or products is restricted by the Endangered Species Act. It is also listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as a protected species. It is threatened by the use of bear bile in traditional Chinese medicine and habitat encroachment.

Cultural references

The blue bear is notable for having been suggested as one possible inspiration for the yeti. A 1960 expedition to search for evidence of the yeti, led by Sir Edmund Hillary, returned with two scraps of fur that had been identified by locals as 'yeti fur' that were later scientifically identified as being portions of the pelt of a blue bear. [3] [4]

Related Research Articles

Brown bear Species of bear found across Eurasia and North America.

The brown bear is a bear species found across Eurasia and North America. In North America, the populations of brown bears are called grizzly bears. It is one of the largest living terrestrial members of the order Carnivora, rivaled in size only by its closest relative, the polar bear, which is much less variable in size and slightly bigger on average. The brown bear's range includes parts of Russia, Central Asia, China, Canada, the United States, Hokkaido, Scandinavia, the Balkans, the Picos de Europa and the Carpathian region, especially Romania, Bulgaria, Anatolia and the Caucasus. The brown bear is recognized as a national and state animal in several European countries.

In Himalayan folklore, the Yeti is a monstrous creature. The entity would later come to be referred to as the Abominable Snowman in western popular culture. The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their folk beliefs. Stories of the Yeti first emerged as a facet of Western popular culture in the 19th century. The scientific community has generally regarded the Yeti as the result of a complex of intricate folk beliefs rather than a large, ape-like creature.

Asian black bear species of mammal

The Asian black bear, also known as the Asiatic black bear, moon bear and white-chested bear, is a medium-sized bear species native to Asia that is largely adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. It lives in the Himalayas, in the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, the Korean Peninsula, northeastern China, the Russian Far East, the Honshū and Shikoku islands of Japan, and Taiwan. It is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), mostly because of deforestation and hunting for its body parts. Although largely herbivorous, Asian black bears can be very aggressive toward humans, who frequently trap or kill them for traditional medicine.

Eurasian brown bear subspecies of brown bear

The Eurasian brown bear is one of the most common subspecies of the brown bear, and is found in much of Eurasia. It is also known as the European brown bear, common brown bear, common bear, and colloquially by many other names. "The genetic diversity of present-day brown bears has been extensively studied over the years and appears to be geographically structured into five main clades based upon analysis of the mtDNA."

Ursid hybrid Bear hybrids

An ursid hybrid is an animal with parents from two different species or subspecies of the bear family (Ursidae). Species and subspecies of bear known to have produced offspring with another bear species or subspecies include black bears, grizzly bears and polar bears, all of which are members of the genus Ursus. Bears not included in Ursus, such as the giant panda, are expected to be unable to produce hybrids with other bears. Note all of the confirmed hybrids listed here have been in captivity, but suspected hybrids have been found in the wild.

Syrian brown bear subspecies of mammal

The Syrian brown bear is a relatively small subspecies of brown bear native to the Middle East.

MacFarlane's bear was a Grizzly bear killed in Canada's Northwest Territories in 1864. Inuit hunters shot and killed an enormous yellow-furred bear and gave the skin and skull to the Fort Anderson post manager and amateur naturalist Roderick MacFarlane of the Hudson's Bay Company. MacFarlane shipped the skin and skull to the Smithsonian Institution where they were placed in storage and soon forgotten. Eventually, Dr. Clinton Hart Merriam uncovered the remains, which he thought had been shot very far outside the brown bear's normal range, and concluded that it was not a brown bear at all. In 1918, he described the specimen as a new species and genus, Vetularctos inopinatus, calling it the "ancient unexpected bear."

Himalayan brown bear Subspecies of mammal

The Himalayan brown bear, also known as the Himalayan red bear, isabelline bear or Dzu-Teh, is a subspecies of the brown bear and is known from northern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, northern India, west China and Nepal. It is the largest mammal in the region, males reaching up to 2.2 m (7 ft) long while females are a little smaller. These bears are omnivorous and hibernate in a den during the winter. While the brown bear as a species is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, this subspecies is highly endangered and populations are dwindling. It is Endangered in the Himalayas and Critically Endangered in Hindu Kush.

Endangered mammals of India are the mammal species in India that are listed as threatened in the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Animals

Gobi bear subspecies of mammal

The Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis; known in Mongolian as the Mazalaai, is a subspecies of the brown bear that is found in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. It is listed as critically endangered by the Mongolian Redbook of Endangered Species and by the Zoological Society of London. The population included only around 30 adults in 2009, and is separated by enough distance from other brown bear populations to achieve reproductive isolation.

Marsican brown bear Abruzzan subspecies of Brown bear

The Marsican brown bear, also known as the "Apennine brown bear", and orso bruno marsicano in Italian, is a critically endangered population of the Eurasian brown bear, with a range restricted to the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, and the surrounding region in Italy. The Marsican brown bear differs slightly from other brown bears in its appearance and hibernation techniques.

Bear hunting

Bear hunting is the act of hunting bears. Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur. In addition to being a source of food, in modern times they have been favoured by big game hunters due to their size and ferocity. Bear hunting has a vast history throughout Europe and North America, and hunting practices have varied based on location and type of bear.

Cantabrian brown bear Population of the Eurasian brown bear

The Cantabrian brown bear or Iberian brown bear is a population of Eurasian brown bears living in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain. On average, females weigh 85 kg (187 lb), but can reach a weight of 150 kg (330 lb). Males average 115 kg (254 lb), though they can weigh as much as 200 kg (440 lb). The bear measures between 1.6 and 2 m in length, and between 0.90 and 1 m at shoulder height. In Spain, it is known as the Oso pardo cantábrico and, more locally, in Asturias as Osu. It is timid and will avoid human contact whenever possible. The Cantabrian brown bear can live for around 25–30 years in the wild.

Grizzly bear Subspecies of mammal

The grizzly bear, also known as the North American brown bear or simply grizzly, is a large population or subspecies of the brown bear inhabiting North America.

Alaska Peninsula brown bear subspecies of mammal

The Alaska Peninsula brown bear or "peninsular grizzly" is a colloquial nomenclature for a brown bear that lives in the coastal regions of southern Alaska, although according to other sources, it is a population of the mainland brown bear subspecies, or the Kodiak bear subspecies.

Mongolian wolf Subspecies of mammal

The Mongolian wolf is a subspecies of the grey wolf which is native to Mongolia, northern and central China, Korea, and the Ussuri region of Russia.

Formerly or currently considered subspecies or populations of brown bears have been listed as follows:

Dietary biology of the brown bear

The brown bear is one of the most omnivorous animals in the world and has been recorded consuming the greatest variety of foods of any bear. Throughout life, this species is regularly curious about the potential of eating virtually any organism or object that they encounter. Certainly no other animal in their given ecosystems, short perhaps of other bear species and humans, can claim to feed on as broad a range of dietary opportunities. Food that is both abundant and easily obtained is preferred. Their jaw structure has evolved to fit their dietary habits. Their diet varies enormously throughout their differing areas based on opportunity. In spring, winter-provided carrion, grasses, shoots, sedges and forbs are the dietary mainstays for brown bears from almost every part of their distribution. Fruits, including berries, become increasingly important during summer and early autumn. Roots and bulbs become critical in autumn for some inland bear populations if fruit crops are poor. The dietary variability is illustrated in the western United States, as meat made up 51% of the average year-around diet for grizzly bears from Yellowstone National Park, while it made up only 11% of the year-around diet for grizzlies from Glacier National Park a few hundred miles to the north.

References

  1. Lydekker P.Z.S (1897). "The Blue Bear of Tibet". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. XXII: 426.
  2. Sowerby, Arthur de Carle (1920). "Notes on Heude's Bears in the Sikawei Museum, and on the Bears of Palaearctic Eastern Asia". Journal of Mammalogy . American Society of Mammalogists: 225.
  3. "Genève: 15 000 francs pour une peau de yéti"
  4. Détail du lot n° 872" Archived 2012-03-26 at the Wayback Machine