The J&K Wildlife Department has recorded its first ever sighting of a group of eight Himalayan brown bears in Kargil’s Drass Sector, where the 1999 war had wreaked havoc with their habitats.

About Himalayan Brown Bear

  • It’s an omnivorous animal and India’s largest animal (mammal) in the Himalayas.

  • They exhibit sexual dimorphism.

  • It is distributed in Nepal, Pakistan, and northern India.

  • In India they are found in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

  • The best place to spot them is the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal.

  • A brown bear requires about 100 square kilometer as its territory to survive and any human intervention disturbs its ecology.

Threatened by

  • They are poached for their fur and claws for ornamental purposes and internal organs for use in medicines.

  • They are killed by shepherds to protect their livestock.

  • The tree bearing the state flower of Himachal — buransh — is the favourite hangout of this bear. Due to the high value of the buransh tree, it is being commercially cut causing further destruction to the brown bear’s home.

  • In Himachal, their home is the Kugti and Tundah wildlife sanctuaries and the tribal Chamba region.

  • The 1999 Kargil war had caused significant destruction to their habitats, and no Himalayan bear had been spotted in the region for many years. The Tiger Hill, one of the battle fields, was a prominent brown bear habitat. The war and the movement of troops did impact the animal’s behavior and ecology.