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In pics: Rare Tibetan brown bear spotted in Sikkim; WWF Camera traps unearth folklore

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India recorded its first-ever confirmed sighting of a rare Tibetan brown bear in Northern Sikkim marking an addition of a new subspecies to the mammal diversity of India.

This species, scientifically known as Ursus arctos pruinosus, was recorded in camera traps set up by the Sikkim Forest Department and WWF-India.

Tibetan brown bears are distinct from the commonly found Himalayan Black Bear in terms of its appearance.

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Tibetan brown bears are distinct from the commonly found Himalayan Black Bear in terms of its appearance. (Instagram/@airnewsalerts)

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Earlier, nomadic herders called Dokpas hailing from high-altitude areas of Tso Lhamo plateau and Muguthanga had mentioned tales of unidentified animals stealing sugar and oil from their herder camps. Over decades, folklore of Yeti gained prominence across the Himalayas with failed attempts to catch hold of this elusive creature.

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In a social media post on Instagram, All India Radio News shared images of this Tibetan brown bear and stated, “The camera traps that recorded the bear were placed by Phuchung Lachenpa, Tashi Palden Lachenpa and Palden Lepcha in the high altitudes of Mangan district and caught this elusive bear in December 2023.”

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The post further read, “These photos highlight the characteristic yellowish scarf-like collar of this bear that broadens from the shoulders to the chest.”

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Also known as Tibetan blue bear, is among one of the rarest subspecies of bears in the world. This subspecies has adapted to the harsh conditions of the Tibetan Plateau and is rarely sighted in the wild. Few records from Nepal, Bhutan and the Tibetan plateau confirm its sighting with the latest one being in Sikkim. This species is distinct from the commonly found Himalayan Black Bear in terms of its appearance.

Tibetan brown bear species has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and is listed under Schedule-I.

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Tibetan brown bear species has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and is listed under Schedule-I. (Instagram/@airnewsalerts)

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Tibetan brown bear species has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and is listed under Schedule-I. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) also listed it as a protected species.

Earlier, a video documenting the sighting of two rare white owls in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun surfaced. Forest Department officials informed that this vulnerable owl species is uncommon in these areas. Forest officials attempted to relocate these birds to their natural habitat, following their discovery. Another rare discovery involved the sighting of a tiger at one of the highest altitude regions in the country.

 

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Published: 15 Jan 2024, 02:07 PM IST

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https://www.livemint.com/science/news/rare-tibetan-brown-bear-spotted-in-sikkim-wwf-camera-traps-unearth-folklore-sikkim-forest-department-yeti-11705297289056.html

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