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Urgent need to conserve Himalayan brown bear, says study

Urgent need to conserve Himalayan brown bear, says study

Kolkata: A recent study conducted by scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has called for urgent need of spatial planning of protected area network for conservation of Himalayan Brown Bear.

The study was aimed at understanding the effectiveness of existing Himalayan Protected Areas in terms of representativeness for the conservation of the animal and to assess the habitat suitability and biological connectivity and at the same time predict the current and future distribution and movement of Himalayan brown bear in climate change scenarios for 2050.

ZSI Director Dr. Kailash Chandra said so far, very little scientific information is available regarding the animal's typical habitat, and its vulnerability to climate change, which is vital for the conservation of the species and management of its habitats, especially in protected areas (PAs) of the landscape.

Dr. Lalit Kumar Sharma, scientist-C and head wildlife section of ZSI who is the lead author of the study said ZSI has predicted a massive habitat of the decline of about 73.38 per cent to 72.87 per cent for 2050. "These losses in habitat will also result in loss of habitats from thirteen PAs, and eight of them will become completely uninhabitable by 2050, followed by

loss of connectivity in majority of PAs," he added.

Furthermore, simulation suggested a significant qualitative decline in remaining habitats of the species within the protected areas of the landscape. Hence, these PAs may lose their effectiveness and representativeness in achieving the very objective of their existence or conservation goals for Himalayan Brown Bear. So adaptive spatial planning is must for the viability of wildlife species in Himalayan region to mitigate climate change impacts.

The brown bear is the most widely spread bear species in the globe, occupying regions of Eurasia and North America, in quite large numbers.

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