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Diversity and population status of Ursus arctos in Pakistan

Faizul Haq, Rahatullah, Habib Ahmad

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Int. J. Biosci.2(4), 12-20, April 2012

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Abstract

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are poorly studied in Pakistan and historically, it was found in the entire range of the mountains of northern Pakistan, in a total area of 150,000 km2, but in the past 50 years its population size are declining and have gone extinct from some areas. Brown bears are now distributed over 3 major mountain ranges and 4 intermountain highlands. Bears are legally protected, however, and recently designated as critically endangered in IUCN’s Red List of Mammals of Pakistan. Seven populations probably persist in the Himalaya, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush ranges; the Deosai Plateau in western Himalaya hosts the only stable population. Seven national parks and many wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves, which provide legal protection to bears, have been established in the northern mountains of Pakistan. Growing human population, expanding infrastructure, increasing number of livestock, and increasing dependency on natural resources, particularly alpine pastures, are key threats. Poaching for its commercial parts and for cubs and growing unmanaged tourism also contribute to population decline. The population has become conservation dependent, and actions like effective management of protected areas, better management of natural resources, and environmental education need immediate attention.

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Diversity and population status of Ursus arctos in Pakistan

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