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

Main Article Content

Bipan C. Rathore
N.P.S. Chauhan

Abstract

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.

 

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Rathore, B.C. and Chauhan, N. 2014. The food habits of the Himalayan Brown Bear Ursus arctos (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ursidae) in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 6, 14 (Dec. 2014), 6649–6658. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3609.6649-58.
Section
Communications
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.

References

Bargali, H.S., N. Akhtar & N.P.S. Chauhan (2004). Feeding ecology of Sloth Bears in a disturbed area in central India. Ursus 15(2): 212–217; http://dx.doi.org/10.2192/1537-6176(2004)015<0212:FEOSBI>2.0.CO;2

Bunnell, F.L. & A.N. Hamilton (1983). Forage digestibility and fitness in Grizzly Bears. International Conference on Bear Research and Management (5): 179–185.

Cicnjak, L., D. Huber, H.U. Roth, R.L. Ruff & Z. Vinovrski (1987). Food habits of Brown Bears in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Yugoslavia.International Conference on Bear Research and Management (7): 221–226.

Clevenger, A.P., F.J. Purroy & M.R. Pelton (1992). Food habits of Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) in the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain.Journal of Mammology (73): 415–421.

Dahle, B., O.J. Sorenson, E.H. Wedul, J.E. Swenson & F. Sandegren (1998). The diet of Brown Bears Ursus arctos in central Scandinavia: effect of access to free-ranging domestic sheep Ovis aries. Wildlife Biology 4(3): 147–158.

Desai, A.A., N. Baskaran & S. Venkatesh (1997). Behavioural ecology of the Sloth Bear in Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Tamil Nadu. Final Project Report. Bombay Natural History Society and Tamil Nadu Forest Department.

Frackowiak, W. (1997). Diet and food habits of the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos L.) in polish eastern Carpathians. Journal Wildlife Research 2(2): 154–160.

Hamer, D. & S. Herrero (1987). Grizzly Bear food and habitat use in the front ranges of Baniff National Park, Alberta. International Conference of Bear Research and Management 7: 199–213.

Hechtel, J.L. (1985). Activity and food habits of barren ground Grizzly Bears in Arctic Alaska. Thesis. University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, USA.

Hewitt, D.G. & C.T. Robbins (1996). Estimating Grizzly Bear food habits from fecal analysis. Wildlife Society Bulletin 24: 547–550.

Hilderbrand, G.V., C.C. Schwartz, C.T. Robbins, M.E. Jacoby, T.A.

Hanley, S.M. Arthur & C. Servheen (1999b). The importance of meat, particularly salmon, to body size, population productivity, and conservation of North American Brown Bears. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77(1): 132–138; http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z98-195

LeFranc, M.N., Jr. M.B. Moss, K.A. Patnode & W.C. Sugg (1987). Grizzly Bear compendium. Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Washington, DC, USA.

Mace, R.D. & C. Jonkal (1986). Local food habits of Grizzly Bear in Montana. International Conferenceon Bear Research and Management 6: 105–110.

MacHutchon, A.G. & D.W. Wellwood (2003). Grizzly Bear food habits in the northern Yukon, Canada. Ursus 14(2): 225–235.

Mattson, D.J., B.M. Blanchard & R.R. Knight (1991). Food habits of Yellowstone Grizzly Bears, 1977–1987. Canadian Journal of Zoology 69: 1619–1629.

Mealey, S.P. (1980). The natural food habits of Grizzly Bears in Yellowstone National Park 1973–74. International Conference on Bear Research and Management 4: 281–292.

Ohdachi, S. & T. Aoi (1987). Food habits of brown bears in Hokkaido, Japan. International Conference on Bear Research And Management 7: 215–220.

Rode, K.D. & C.T. Robbins (2000). Why bears consume mixed diets during fruit abundance. Canadian Journal of Zoology 78(9): 1640–1645; http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z00-082

Sathyakumar, S. (1999). Status and Management of the Himalayan Brown Bear in India. Pp. 125-128 in Bears: Status survey and Conservation Action Plan. Servheen et al (editors), op. cit.

Servheen, C. (1983). Grizzly bear Food habits, Movements, And Habitat Selection in the Mission Mountains, Montana.Journal of Wildlife Management 47(4): 1026-1035.

Welch, C.A., J. Keay, K.C. Kendall & C.T. Robbins (1997). Constraints on frugivory by bears.Ecology 78: 1105-1119.

Xu, A., Z. Jiang, C. Li, J. Guo, G. Wu & P. Cai (2006). Summer food habits of brown bears in Kekexili Nature Reserve, Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, China. Ursus 17(2): 132–137; http://dx.doi.org/10.2192/1537-6176(2006)17[132:SFHOBB]2.0.CO;2