Accepted scientific name: Ursus arctos pruinosus (Blyth, 1854)
Description: Whilst the fur of the bear is essentially black the outer guard hairs give the bear a blue / grey appearance.
Range: Historically found mainly on the alpine eastern Tibetan plateau (4,500 to 5,000 metres), in eastern Tibet, western China, Nepal and occasionally in Bhutan. Any remaining bears in the wild are thought to most likely be in Bhutan, although a sighting was reported on the northern plateau near the historic border between Tibet and China in 2013.
Habitat: Lives in mountainous regions at high altitudes close to the tree line.
Status: Very rare and could be extinct in the wild. Listed in Appendix I of CITES and in the USA trade in blue bear specimens or parts is restricted by the Endangered Species Act.
Life span: Unknown but assumed to be around 20 to 30 years in common with other brown bears in the wild.
Food: Small mammals, particularly pika. Allegedly will kill and eat livestock and enter nomad dwellings to take food. Probably also eats vegetation and pine nuts when and where avaialble but little is known about the bears’ diet.
Behaviour: Probably the least known and least studied of all brown bear subspecies. Evidence indicates that the Tibetan blue bear is very shy of human contact and therefore very seldom observed.
Threats: Threatened by the use of bear bile in Chinese medicine and by habitat loss and human conflict.
Page created 13 August 2017