Tibetan blue bear

Last updated

Tibetan blue bear
Oji zoo, Kobe, Japan (6631356045).jpg
Tibetan blue bear at the Oji Zoo, Japan.
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 (Ursus arctos pruinosus) or Tibetan blue bear [2] is a subspecies of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

Contents

One of the rarest subspecies of bear in the world, the blue bear is rarely sighted in the wild. First classified in 1851, it was once known in the West only through a small number of fur and bone samples. However, the 2021 French documentary The Velvet Queen (La Panthère des Neiges) did manage to capture extensive footage of the reclusive animal. [3]

Common names

Tibetan blue bear is also known as the Himalayan blue bear, [4] Himalayan snow bear, Tibetan brown bear, and the horse bear. In Tibetan, it is known as Dom gyamuk.

Taxonomic history

Illustration of a Tibetan blue bear by Joseph Smit Tibetan Blue Bear - Ursus arctos pruinosus - Joseph Smit crop.jpg
Illustration of a Tibetan blue bear by Joseph Smit

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

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

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. [5] [6]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brown bear</span> Species of large bear found across Eurasia and North America

The brown bear is a large bear species found across Eurasia and North America. In North America, the populations of brown bears are called grizzly bears, while the subspecies that inhabits the Kodiak Islands of Alaska is known as the Kodiak bear. 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, the Himalayas, China, Canada, the United States, Hokkaido, Scandinavia, Finland, the Balkans, the Picos de Europa and the Carpathian region, Iran, Anatolia, and the Caucasus. The brown bear is recognized as a national and state animal in several European countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yeti</span> Alleged ape-like creature from Asia

The Yeti is an ape-like creature purported to inhabit the Himalayan mountain range in Asia. In western popular culture, the creature is commonly referred to as the Abominable Snowman. Many dubious articles have been offered in an attempt to prove the existence of the Yeti, including anecdotal visual sightings, disputed video recordings, photographs, and plaster casts of large footprints. Some of these are speculated or known to be hoaxes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">California grizzly bear</span> Extinct subspecies of carnivore

The California grizzly bear is an extinct population or subspecies of the brown bear, generally known as the grizzly bear. "Grizzly" could have meant "grizzled" – that is, with golden and grey tips of the hair – or "fear-inspiring". Nonetheless, after careful study, naturalist George Ord formally classified it in 1815 – not for its hair, but for its character – as Ursus horribilis. Genetically, North American brown bears are closely related; in size and coloring, the California grizzly bear was much like the Kodiak bear of the southern coast of Alaska. In California, it was particularly admired for its beauty, size, and strength. The grizzly became a symbol of the Bear Flag Republic, a moniker that was attached to the short-lived attempt by a group of U.S. settlers to break away from Mexico in 1846. Later, this rebel flag became the basis for the state flag of California, and then California was known as the "Bear State".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kodiak bear</span> Largest subspecies of Brown Bears/Grizzly Bears

The Kodiak bear, also known as the Kodiak brown bear, sometimes the Alaskan brown bear, inhabits the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago in southwest Alaska. It is the largest recognized subspecies or population of the brown bear, and one of the two largest bears alive today, the other being the polar bear. They are also considered by some to be a population of grizzly bears.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Atlas bear</span> Extinct subspecies of brown bear in Africa

The Atlas bear and African bear is an extinct population or populations of brown bear native to North Africa that went extinct in historical times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eurasian brown bear</span> Subspecies of carnivore

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 called 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ursid hybrid</span> 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. The giant panda bear belongs to the genus Ailuropoda melanoleuca.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Syrian brown bear</span> Subspecies of mammal

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Himalayan brown bear</span> 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. The bears are omnivorous and hibernate in dens during the winter. While the brown bear as a species is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, this subspecies is critically endangered and populations are dwindling.

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gobi bear</span> Subspecies of carnivore

The Gobi bear, known in Mongolian as the Mazaalai (Мазаалай), 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 IUCN standards. Recent surveys documented just 51 bears in 2022, a slight increase from an estimate of 40 bears in 2017. Gobi bears are separated by enough distance from other brown bear populations to achieve reproductive isolation. In 1959, hunting of the animal was prohibited in order to preserve the dying subspecies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marsican brown bear</span> Subspecies of carnivore

The Marsican brown bear, also known as the "Apennine brown bear", and orso bruno marsicano in Italian, is a critically endangered population or subspecies 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. The bear's popular name is derived from Marsica, a historic area of the modern-day region of Abruzzo where the bear has long had a significant presence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bear hunting</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cantabrian brown bear</span>

The Cantabrian brown bear, Iberian brown bear, or Iberian 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grizzly bear</span> Subspecies of brown bear

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alaska Peninsula brown bear</span> Subspecies of carnivore

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. It is a population of the mainland grizzly bear species.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mongolian wolf</span> Subspecies of mammal

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Steppe brown bear</span> Disputed extinct subspecies of brown bear

The steppe brown bear is a disputed extinct subspecies of brown bear that lived in Eurasia during either the Pleistocene or the early Holocene epochs, but its geological age is uncertain. Fossils of the bear have been found in various caves in Slovakia, particularly those of Vazec, Vyvieranie, Lisková, Kupcovie Izbicka, and Okno. It is argued that the species should be rendered invalid, as its geological age is unclear and "its skull is identical to modern U. arctos."

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

References

  1. "Endangered Species". awionline.org.
  2. Lydekker P.Z.S. (1897). "The Blue Bear of Tibet". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 1897: 412.
  3. Amiguet, Marie and Munier, Vincent (July 13, 2021). La panthère des neiges [The Velvet Queen] (Motion Picture) (in French).
  4. 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.
  5. "Genève: 15 000 francs pour une peau de yéti"
  6. Détail du lot n° 872" Archived 2012-03-26 at the Wayback Machine