Tibetan Blue Bear
Not much is known about this rare subspecies of the brown bear also known as the Himalayan blue bear, Himalayan snow bear, Tibetan brown bear, horse bear or simply Tibetan bear. In Central Asia, in the vast Eastern Tibetan plateau these bears are known as Dom gyamuk.
Belief that the the desert-dwelling Gobi brown bear is a surviving population of the Tibetan blue bear, coupled with the well-formed similarities, they are sometimes classified as being of the same subspecies. However, the Gobi bear closely resembles other Asian brown bears, so it is also classified as its own subspecies.
It has been suggested the blue bear may have been a possible inspiration for sightings associated with the yeti legend. a 1960 expedition led by Sir Edmund Hillary in search for the yeti, found two scraps of fur which had been labeled by locals as “yeti fur”. The scraps were later scientifically identified as coming from the pelt of a blue bear. Although, these bears do not normally roam the snow fields and high peaks where the yeti is known to reside, it is possible they might be found in this area seeking food during a time when supply was low or searching for a mate. Confirming the speculation is very difficult due to the lack of information on the blue bear’s habits and where they roam.
The Tibetan blue bear was first classified in 1854 and only known in the west from fur and a small number of bone samples. In the United States trade in blue bear products or specimens is restricted by the Endangered Species Act. The status of this protected species listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is threatened by the demise of their habitat and the use of bear bile in Chinese medicine.