24 October 2020.
A study carried out in the western Himalayas by scientists of Zoological Survey of India have predicted a massive habitat decline of about 73.38% to 72.87% of the Himalayan brown bear by the year 2050 in the climate change scenario.
Highlights of the study:
- Lalit Sharma, head of wildlife section of ZSI is the lead author of the study.
- Accroding to the study a significant reduction in suitable habitat and biological corridors of the species in the climate change scenario is predicted.
- This prompts scientists to suggest an adaptive spatial planning of protected area network in the western Himalayas for conserving the species.
- These losses in habitat will also result in loss of habitats from 13 protected areas (PAs), and eight of them will become completely uninhabitable by the year 2050, followed by loss of connectivity in the majority of PAs.
- Furthermore, simulation suggests a significant qualitative decline in remaining habitats of the species within the protected areas of the landscape.
Why Himalayan Brown Bear?
- The Himalayan Brown Bear has been considered for the study as it is the top carnivore in the Himalayan region.
- The belts where the brown bears are distributed are getting warmer than the other zones of Himalayas.
Importance of Top Carnivore:
- The top carnivores are those animals that are in the top of the pyramid.
- They prey on other organisms and are not preyed on.
- They are important in maintaining and regulating the ecosystems.
- They help to balance the ecosystem by making sure, no single creature dominates an ecosystem. If the population of top carnivores decline, the entire ecosystem will collapse soon.
- The brown bears prey on grasses, plants, roots, mammals such as goat and sheep. Thus, they help to keep a balance in an ecosystem.
- They are categorised as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species in Himalayas and Hindukush.
- In the rest of the world, the brown bear is categorised as “Least Concern” by the IUCN.
- International trade of brown bear is prohibited under wildlife Protection Act.
Distribution of Brown Bear in India:
The brown bear is found in 23 protected areas in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir.