Assessment of changes over a decade in the patterns of livestock depredation by the Himalayan Brown Bear in Ladakh, India

Main Article Content

Aishwarya Maheshwari
A. Arun Kumar
Sambandam Sathyakumar


Conflicts between large carnivores and shepherds constitute a major socio-ecological concern across the Himalaya and affects community attitudes and tolerance toward carnivores. We assessed the extent and intensity of Human-Brown Bear interactions in the same villages of Zanskar and Suru Valleys, Ladakh, in the Indian Trans-Himalaya during two time periods (2001–2003 and 2009–2012) through field and questionnaire surveys. During 2001–2003, 180 families of 32 villages in Zanskar, and 232 families of 49 villages in Suru were interviewed, and during 2009–2012, 145 families of 23 villages in Zanskar and 115 families of 33 villages in Suru were interviewed. Overall, 475 (119/year) and 454 (151/year) heads of livestock were reportedly killed by Brown Bears. The surveys of 2009–2012 revealed that livestock predation in ‘doksas’ (summer grazing camps) was higher (68 %) compared to the surveys carried out during 2001–2003 (42 %). The increased livestock depredation in doksas might be due to the extended stay and use of pastures by the local communities during spring and autumn. Damage to property in the form of breaking open of doors and windows by Brown Bear were reported during both the surveys. Economic losses and declining tolerance of people may trigger retaliatory killings of Brown Bear in Ladakh. We recommend compensation for livestock loss and improved husbandry practices in the conflict zones for bear-human coexistence.

Article Details



Ambarlı, H. & C.C. Bilgin (2008). Human–Brown Bear Conflicts in Artvin, Northeastern Turkey: Encounters, Damage, and Attitudes. Ursus 19: 146–153.

Bailey, T.C., & A.C. Gatrell (1995). Interactive Spatial Data Analysis. Longman Scientific and Technical, Harlow, Essex, UK, 413pp.

Can, O.E., N. D’Cruze, D.L. Garshelis, J. Beecham & D.W. Macdonald (2014). Resolving human-bear conflict: A global survey of countries, experts, and key factors. Conservation Letters 7: 501–513.

Census of India (2011). Provisional population totals. Paper 2, volume 1 of 2011. Rural-urban distribution India series 1. Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, New Delhi, India. Data product 00-004-2011-Cen-Book (E).

Dai, Y., C.E. Hacker, Y. Zhang, Y. Li, J. Li, Y. Xue & D. Li (2020). Conflicts of human with the Tibetan brown bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus) in the Sanjiangyuan region, China. Global Ecology and Conservation 22: e01039.

ESRI (2016). ArcGIS Desktop. Release 10.5. Redlands, CA. Environmental Systems Research Institute.

Galbreath, G.J., C.P. Groves & L.P. Waits (2007). Genetic resolution of composition and phylogenetic placement of the Isabelline Bear. Ursus 18: 129–131.

Jackson, R., D. Hillard & R. Wangchuk (2001). Encouraging local participation in efforts to reduce livestock depredation by Snow Leopard and wolf in Ladakh, India. Carnivore Damage Prevention News 4: 2–6.

Jayapal, R. (2000). Livestock depredation by wild animals in Zanskar, Ladakh. Report submitted to Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Kala, C.P. (2011). Floral Diversity and Distribution in the high-altitude cold desert of Ladakh, India. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 30: 360–369.

Karimov, K., S.M. Kachel, & K. Hackländer (2018). Responses of snow leopards, wolves and wild ungulates to livestock grazing in the Zorkul Strictly Protected Area, Tajikistan. PLOS ONE 13: e0208329.

Kernohan, B.J., R.A. Gitzen, & J.J. Millspaugh (2001). Analysis of animal space use and movements. Radio tracking and animal populations. Academic Press, San Diego, USA, 125–166pp.

Maheshwari, A, J. Takpa, S. Kujur, & T. Shawl (2010). An investigation of carnivore-human conflicts in Kargil and Drass areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Report submitted to Rufford Small Grant. 30 pp. Available: Accessed 15 September 2019.

Maheshwari, A. (2013). Doksa: Summer home of domestic livestock. Hornbill October–December, 20pp.

Maheshwari, A., N. Midha & A. Cherukupalli (2014). Participatory rural appraisal and compensation intervention: challenges and protocols while managing large carnivore-human conflict. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 19: 62–71.

Maheshwari, A. (2016). Conservation and management of Snow leopard and co- predators with special reference of large carnivore-human conflicts in the select areas of western Himalayas. PhD Thesis. Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat, India, 170pp.

Maheshwari, A. (2018). Foraging habits of the red fox Vulpes vulpes (Mammalia: Carnivora: Canidae) in the Himalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 10(10): 12418–12421.

Maheshwari, A. & S. Sathyakumar (2019). Snow leopard stewardship in mitigating human-wildlife conflict in Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 24: 395–399.

Maheshwari, A. & S. Sathyakumar (2020). Patterns of livestock depredation and large carnivore conservation implications in the Indian Trans-Himalaya. Journal of Arid Environments 182: 104241.

Nawaz, M.A. (2007). Status of the brown bear in Pakistan. Ursus 18: 89–100.

O’Sullivan, D. & D.J. Unwin (2003). Geographic Information Analysis. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey, USA. 395pp.

Rawat, G.S. (2007). Pastoral practices, wild mammals and conservation status of alpine meadows in western Himalaya. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 104: 5–11.

Rathore, B.C. & N.P.S. Chauhan (2007). Predatory behavior and interaction of Himalayan brown bear with nomadic shepherds in Pir-Panjal Himalayan range, India. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Monterrey City, Mexico.

Rathore, B.C. (2008). Ecology of brown bear (Ursus arctos) with special reference to assessment of human-brown bear conflicts in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh and mitigation strategies. PhD Thesis. Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat, India, 239pp.

Rodgers, W.A., H.S. Panwar & V.B. Mathur (2000). Wildlife Protected Area Network in India: A Review (Executive Summary). Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India.

Sathyakumar, S. (2001). Status and management of Asiatic black bear and Himalayan brown bear in India. Ursus 12: 21–30.

Sathyakumar, S. (2003). Brown Bear-Human conflicts in Zanskar and Suru Valleys, Ladakh. Report submitted to Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India, 22pp.

Sathyakumar, S. (2006). Status and distribution of Himalayan Brown Bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) in India: An assessment of changes over ten years. The Indian Forester 132: 89–96.

Schwartz, C.C., M.A. Haroldson, K.A. Gunther & D. Moody (2003). Distribution of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 1990–2000. Ursus 13: 203–212.

Servheen, C. (1990). The status and management of the bears of the world. International Conference on Bear Research and Management. Monograph Series 2: 32.

Sharief, A., , B.D. Joshi, V. Kumar, M. Kumar, R. Dutta, C.M. Sharma, A. Thapa, H.S. Rana, T. Mukherjee, A. Singh, M. Thakur, L.K. Sharma & K. Chandra (2020). Identifying Himalayan Brown Bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) conservation areas in Lahaul Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Global Ecology and Conservation 21: e0090.

Silverman, B.W. (1986). Density Estimation for Statistics and Data Analysis. Chapman & Hall, London, UK, 176pp.

Worton, B.J. (1989). Kernel methods for estimating the utilization distribution in home range studies. Ecology 70: 164–168.