Author Topic: Baluchistan black bears "Mum"  (Read 4695 times)

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Offline AhmedHout

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Baluchistan black bears "Mum"
« on: September 17, 2011, 03:37:25 PM »
Baluchistan black bear
The Baluchistan black bear Selenarctos thibetanus gedruosianus is a subspecies of the Asiatic black bear. Many believe it to be the only "true" subspecies. It is known as "Mum" by the local people of Baluchistan.

The Baluchistan black bear is found in the higher ranges of the province of Baluchistan in Southwest Pakistan and Southeast Iran. It's greatest stronghold is in the hills south of Khuzdar. It is also found in Takht-e-Suliman, Toba Kakar, Ziarat, and Kalat.
It once was found in almost the entirety of Baluchistan. However, it is now considered extinct in most of the area. Deforestation and loss of habitat is the greatest problem it faces.

Like other Asiatic black bears, Baluchistan bears have a cream colored crescent patch on their chest. Baluchistan bears are slightly smaller, ranging in size from 55 to 75 inches in length and weigh between 200 and 400 pounds. Most of them also have shorter, coarser, browner fur that is often more of a reddish-brown than black.

The Baluchistan bear will eat green plants, fruits, berries, seeds, honey, and insects. It also feeds on small vertebrates such as birds, rodents, and lizards.
Females mature at between three and four years of age. In Pakistan, mating reportedly occurs in October. The gestation period of the Asiatic black bear usually lasts from seven to eight months. However, it is believed to be shorter in warmer regions than in colder. The Baluchistan bear has anywhere from one to three cubs in February.

The cubs are born blind and totally dependant on their mother. They are weaned at about six months, but remain with their mother for two to three years. Females can produce a liter of cubs every other year. They have been seen in the wild with offspring of different ages.
The Baluchistan Bear is one of the rarest mammals in the world and is on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. It is also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), banning all internatal trade of any products derived from the species. Efforts are being made to save the bear, though it is still threatened by deforesting and overhunting. The natural life span is from 25 to 30 years.

Asiatic Black Bear [/color]
(Ursus Thibetanus)[/b]   

[size=-2]PHOTO CREDIT: Brimingham Zoo[/size]
  Local name: Kala Reech, Kala Bhalom, Mum (Urdu),(Baluchi: Baluchistan)
Discription and Biology:
 >APPEARANCE: This medium-sized, black-colored bear has a lightish muzzle and ears which appear large in proportion to the rest of its head, especially when compared with other species of bears. There is a distinct white patch on the chest , which is sometimes in the shape of a V, and white on the chin. A brown color phase also occurs. The Balochistan black bear is a sub-species of the Asiatic or Himalayan black bear. It is smaller and possesses short, coarse, rufous brown fur in the specimens from the south while those from the north are much darker as compared to the Himalayan black bear. It prefers to (Olea ferruginea), Ber (Zizyphus nummularia) as well as the starchy rhizomes and fruits of the dwarf palm, insects and lizards. SIZE: There is limited information available on these bears, but total length of adults is 130 to 190 centimeters (50 to 75 inches). Adult males range from 100 to 200 kilograms (220 to 440 pounds) and adult females from 50 to 125 kilogra ms (110 to 275 pounds).
REPRODUCTION: There is little detailed information on reproduction in Asiatic black bears. Sexual maturity of females is thought to occur at three to four years of age. In Pakistan, mating has been reported to occur in October, with young being born in February. Cubs are weaned at less than six months old, but may stay with their mothers for two to three years. Females have sometimes been reported with cubs of different ages. Baluchistan black bears are thought to mate in October and cubs are born in February.
SOCIAL SYSTEM: In Russia, the home range is reported to be 10 to 20 square kilometers (4 to 8 square miles). Little information is available on social organization. The bears are reported to be mainly nocturnal, sleeping in trees or caves during the day. The Baluchistan black bear is usually sighted in the rainy season from August to November.
DIET: Asiatic black bears have been reported to feed on a wide range of foods, including fruits, bees' nests, insects, invertebrates, small vertebrates, and carrion. They occasionally kill domestic livestock, but the degree to which they prey on wild hoofed mammals in unknown. In fall they frequently make crude leafy feeding platforms in nut-bearing trees. The Baluchistan bear prefers to (Olea ferruginea), Ber (Zizyphus nummularia) as well as the starchy rhizomes and fruits of the dwarf palm, insects and lizards.
[size=-1]( all above information from International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA) and Pakistan Convention on Biodiversity )[/size] Habitat and Distribution:
Asiatic black bears live predominantly in forested areas, especially in hills and mountainous areas. In summer, they have been reported at altitudes over 3,000 meters (9,900 feet), descending to lower elevations during winter. Apparently, they den for winter sleep in the northern parts of their range. It has been suggested that in the southern limits of their range, where it is quite hot, they do not undergo winter sleep, but this has not been confirmed. In Pakistan the Himalayan Black Bear is found in the mountains of Azad Kashmir, Khagan, Swat Kohistan and Southern Chitral, in Chitral Gol National Park. It is also found in Ayubia National Park. The subspecie, Baluchistan Bear is found in the higher hill ranges of Baluchistan, such as Takht-e-Suliman and Toba Kakar. It is also found in Ziarat, Kalat and Khuzdar.
The Baluchistan Bear is one of the world's most rarest mammal and is listed in the IUCN's Red List of threatened species. The Baluchistan black bear (Ursus thibetanus gedrosianus) locally known as "Mum" was once widely distributed in most of Balochistan. A number of stories and mysterious tales have been perpetuated about the species among the locals i.e. dragging humans to caves etc. The Balochistan black bear's habitat ranges from Iranian Balochistan to the Pakistan's Baluchistan province. According to T.J. Roberts, this species has been reported in the Sulaiman Range, Ziarat, Harnai, Khuzdar, Kharan and the Lasbela Hills, but now it is considered extinct in most of the areas. The major stronghold of the species is now in the Pub Range (Khuzdar Hills) where it is mostly confined to arid sub-tropical thorn forest. Two surveys have been conducted one by WWF-Pakistan in 1993-96 and the other by the Himalayan Jungle Project in 1994 and both confirmed the presence of the species in the Pub area. The population status is not certain, but local hunters report 8-10 animals still survive in the area. A WWF survey team has also reported scats and footprints of the Black Bear in the Sulaiman range in 1998.
The black bear is threatened with extinction due to loss of habitat and from local Gypsies, or "Kalanders", who capture bear cubs for bear baiting and for dancing
(read a special report about bear baiting in Pakistan from WSPA). The main threat to the species is its persecution by the locals. Bears are usually killed when they are found predating on goats and their kids. People also kill the bears to sell its fur and to collect its fat for medicinal use. The second important factor that threatens the species is that it has not been explored and studied properly. The habitat has been seriously disturbed during the decades of the 80's and 90's.
Asian Black Bear Iran Nature and Wildlife Magazine
Class: Mammalia[/color]
Order: [/color]Carnivora
Family: [/color]Ursidae
Genus: [/color]Selenarctos
Species: [/color]S. thibetanus

Bears are extremely useful animals; by preying on harmful insects and rodents, they play an effective role in controlling pests. In addition, by eating forest fruits and dispersing the seeds throughout the forest, they help to revive forest trees.
In Iran there are two species of bears one of which is the Asian Black Bear, also known as the Himalayan Black Bear, which belongs to the race S. t. gedrosianus. The Black Bear is seen as having long black or dark brown hair. Shoulders and the outer parts of limbs seem darker. It has white on the chest in the shape of a V and large, tufted ears. Adult bears attain a head and shoulder height of 140 cm - 195 cm, tail length varies between 7-10 cm and weigh about 90-180 kg.
Black Bears feed on green plants, fruits, berries, seeds, termites, bees and other insects, also honey and small vertebrates like birds and rodents. Black Bears make fewer attacks on other larger animals than Brown Bears and rarely attack humans.
They are seen mainly in forest habitats of the South of Kerman, Baluchistan and Hormozgan. Their distribution extends from the border regions of Baluchestan and Pakistan to Minab and Jeeroft. They are seen mainly in the mountainous regions of Zebli; Kassar-Kand and Beerak Mountain ranges in Baluchistan; Beshaghard Mountains in Hormozghan; and Jebal Barz forest, Delfard, Bahr Asseman and Kehnooj in the South of Kerman. The Himalayan Black Bear of Pakistan has been seen as far as Japan, Tailand and South East of Siberia.
Asian Black Bears have been seen to climb trees more than other species, and usually travel several kilometers each night to feed and return early in the morning the following day. Mating takes place at the end of spring and early summer and it is likely that between one to three cubs are born in winter.
This species is likely to become extinct as a result of overhunting.