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India home to four species of bears

Posted on Nov 27, 06:15PM | IBNS

India is home to four of the eight species of bears found worldwide - making it one of the only two countries with this diversity, the other being China.

The Indian bears include the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus).

Sloth bears are endemic to the Indian sub-continent and have gone extinct fairly recently from Pakistan and Bangladesh, underscoring the threats to the species of habitat loss and increasing human interface.

The black bears and brown bears inhabit the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions, while the sun bears are found in very small numbers along the northeast Indian border.

The bears have an almost pan-India distribution, being found in 26 of the 28 Indian states.

Union Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has released the National Bear Conservation and Welfare Action Plan.

The national plan summarises the threats faced by bears in India, and outlines management actions to be undertaken by the bear range states for their conservation and welfare.

It was an outcome of over a year of collaborative work by the MoEF, WII, state Forest Departments and NGOs including WTI, WSPA and IFAW.