Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) ecological and human-bear conflict investigation in Kashmir with special reference to bear habituation to garbage dumps in the Central Wildlife Division

Despite belonging to one of the most ancient bear lineages, little is known about the Himalayan Brown bear. These bears occupy the remote mountainous terrains of the Himalayan range in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and Nepal, and so, they have long eluded researchers. Yet, what do know about this mysterious creature is that anthropogenic pressures are slowly pushing them to the brink of extinction.Determined to collate information on this species, Wildlife SOS conducted a Himalayan Brown bear survey in Kashmir. Authorised by the J&K Wildlife Protection Department, the survey was conducted between July 2021 and October 2021, and has been a monumental step towards conserving the Himalayan Brown bear. The study was conducted to assess the anthropogenic pressure on Brown bear habitat, evaluate and mitigate Brown bear-human conflict, and the dependence and habituation of Brown bears on garbage dumps. The official report titled “Himalayan Brown Bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) Ecological and Human-Bear Conflict Investigation In Kashmir With Special Reference To Bear Habituation To Garbage Dumps In The Central Wildlife Division” was recently released. The findings of the report are groundbreaking, revealing not only pivotal details about the Himalayan Brown bear but also about the plight of Kashmir’s largest mammal. Due to the remote terrains they occupied, the Himalayan Brown bear was a rare sight for the last two decades. Recently, however, the Brown bears have increasingly come into the purview of humans as they venture into lower altitudes in search of food.