The food habits of the Himalayan Brown Bear Ursus arctos (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ursidae) in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India

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Bipan C. Rathore
N.P.S. Chauhan


We documented the food habits of the Himalayan Brown Bear Ursus arctos in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India, between 2002 and 2004 using scat analysis (n=222), direct observation (n=57), and feeding sign observations (n=57).  We concluded that Himalayan Brown Bears lead a predominantly herbivorous life style as plant matter occurred more frequently in scats (79%) than animal matter (21%).  During summer, monsoon and fall, the frequency occurrence of plant matter was 72.2%, 77% and 91% respectively.  During early summer, brown bears foraged primarily on green vegetation such as Rumex nepalensis followed by Chaerophyllum reflexum.  Based on direct feeding observations, brown bears were observed to be feeding on 29 species of plants including agricultural crops and one fungi, Morchella esculenta.  The overuse by livestock, decline in local herbs and excessive extraction of high altitudinal medicinal plants in this habitat may pose a threat to the fragmented brown bear population.


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Author Biographies

Bipan C. Rathore, Department of Zoology, Govt. P.G. College, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh 176310, India

Dr. Bipan C. Rathore has been working for Himalayan Brown Bear research since 2002 and still conducting research on Nomadic shepherds-Brown Bear conflict issues in pir-Panjal Himalayan range. He had attended seven international conferences on bear research and management. 


N.P.S. Chauhan, Wildlife Institute of India, P.O. Box 18, Chandrabani, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001, India Present address: Amity Institutes of Wildlife Sciences, Amity University Campus, Sector-125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303, India

Dr. N.P.S. Chauhan served as scientist for 28 years in wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun till 2012. Presently, he is the Director, Amity Institute of Wildlife Science. He has vast research experience of more than 36 years and has been involved in teaching and training of senior forest officers and post graduate students.


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