First camera-trap confirmation of Tibetan Brown Bear Ursus arctos pruinosus Blyth, 1854 (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ursidae) with a review of its distribution and status in Nepal
The Tibetan Brown Bear Ursus arctos pruinosus is a large mammalian carnivore of high-altitude environments that is closely associated with the pastoral landscape. Limited information is available on this species, probably due to its rarity in the Himalaya. To date, scientific evidence of the presence of Tibetan Brown Bears has not been reported officially. The information presented here is based on data collected in the central Himalayan region of Nepal in 2003–2014 during biodiversity surveys and other research. Methods included random walks along livestock trails, transect surveys, opportunistic camera trapping, and herders’ reports & interviews. This is the first camera-trap confirmation of the Tibetan Brown Bear in the central Himalaya. The distribution map was updated based on direct observation, signs and field reports gathered from reliable sources. The presence of signs (diggings, footprints, and feces) and direct observation in the Annapurna-Manaslu landscape reveal that bears are closely associated with Himalayan marmots and other small rodents. Local folklore, legends, and cultural beliefs have played important roles in Brown Bear conservation in the central Himalaya.