Bioresource Research Centre (BRC) is honored to take the pride of conducting detailed research on Bear Species present in Pakistan and working against its violence. Bears are the mammals of the family Ursidae. Zoology experts classify them as “dog like carnivores” or “caniforms”. Researches show that there are only eight species of bears are present throughout the world including American black bear, Brown bear, Polar bear, Asiatic black bear, Sloth bear, Spectacled bear, Sun bear and Giant panda bear. Experts noted the presence of bears in the continents of North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Bears are large mammal species with heavy weights. They use caves and burrows for taking a long sleep during winter season. A significant role of bears can be seen in arts, myths and as a source of entertainment (especially in Asian countries). Bears are mostly used for selling illegally and for hunting to get their meat and fur. Illegal trade of bears with their parts has also been observed in various countries. This is the reason that IUCN listed six bear species as endangered and vulnerable. Brown bears are specially pointed out at the risk of extinction. Illegal trade and poaching of bears is restricted in every country but still it is practiced everywhere in the world. In Pakistan, Asiatic black bear and Eurasian Brown bears can be found, mostly in northern areas of Pakistan. Bioresource Research Centre (BRC) made special teams for conducing detailed survey and research to estimate the presence and violence against bear species.
A white patch of V-shaped fur on their chest and muzzle and ears which are larger in proportion as compared to the rest of the head, makes them unique from other bear species. Mostly they are 50-75 inches in length. Generally, male bears weigh from 100-200 kilograms (220-440 pounds) and female bears are from 50-125 kilograms (110-275 pounds). These bears can be found in hilly and mountainous areas of Pakistan. They feed on various foods including fruits, bees’ nests, insects, invertebrates, small vertebrates and carrion. Variation in their preferred elevations is observed on seasonal basis. In summers, they have sighted at altitudes over 4000 meters. Lower altitudes are observed during winters 2800-2400 meters. Asiatic Black bear is found in the mountainous regions of Azad Kashmir, Ayubia National Park, Swat kohistan, Kaghan and Southern Chitral. Baluchistan black bear has been reported as a sub-species of Asiatic Black Bear, which is found in the hill ranges of Takht-e-Suliman and Toba Kakar. It is also found in Ziarat, Kalat and Khuzdar, but this bear species is almost extinct now.
Brown bears are dark brown in color with large bodies. Brown color can be varied through light brown to dark blackish brown. A hump on shoulders, a slightly dished profile to the face, long claws on foot paws and brown color are the qualities which make them unique. Noticeable variations can be seen in their weights. Mostly bears twice over their weight when emerging from their dens in spring and returning in the fall. Males have the weight of 135 to 390 kilograms (300-860 pounds) and females have 95 to 205 kilograms (205-455 pounds). Brown bears do not prefer to live in groups. They are found alone. Females are accompanied with their cubs. They prefer vegetation such as grasses, sedges, bulbs and roots for feed. Invertebrates, fish and small mammals are their preferred food. They are found in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, NWFP, Baltistan, Hunza, Gilgit and the slopes of Nanga Parbat, Khunjerab National Park and the Deosai Pleatue National Park near Skardu. They prefer to live in mountainous forests, open meadows and large rivers. They are observed at the altitudes of 4500-3200 meters in summers, however lower altitudes can be noticed during winters 2400 meters. These bears are found at higher altitudes than Asiatic black bears. Brown bear has reached to the status of “very rare” in Pakistan.
Violence against bears is highly observed in Pakistan by our researchers due to the non-existence of any strict law of violence against bears. Black bear is the rarest mammal and has been listed as threatened species in Pakistan by ICUN. Brown bears are reported with the status of near extinction in Pakistan. Local Gypsies or Kalanders and Bear Baiting are the main reasons of bear extinction and near threatened status in Pakistan. Four different ways have been founded by BRC field workers, by which bears are captivated including:
Bear captivity, far from its natural habitat is not reasonable in any way. Bears have to face congested captives with poor and unhygienic conditions in Zoo, Landlords and Gypsies‘s captives. Violence against bears can be seen in different ways. Trained field workers of BRC researched the native areas of Pakistan to locate the areas in which violence against bears is practiced. Lot of cases have been reported from the survey, which clearly shows that there is a need to setup a strict law against bear baiting, pouching, and dancing . A large number of bears involved in fighting are observed in Punjab and Sindh. Fighting of tethered bears with dogs takes the form of Bear baiting. Males and black Asiatic bears are mainly used for this purpose. Brown bears and females black Asiatic bears are also used, but with less ratio. Brown bears are now rarely found in Pakistan. Bear fighting is mostly practiced in Sindh as compared to Punjab due to the strong influence of feudalism. Bear baiting is enjoyed openly in the rural areas of Sindh by landlords. Facts and figures prove that bear fighting or bear baiting has replaced the dancing bears in Sindh. Some cases of Bear fighting have also been reported in Punjab. Dancing bears are commonly observed in almost all the areas of Punjab province.
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