Himalayan Brown Bear, Ursus arctos isabellinus

The Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) is a subspecies of the brown bear. It is thought that this bear may be an origin of the yeti myth. Other common names for this bear include the Isabelline bear, Himalayan red bear, and Dzu-Teh. The range of this brown bear includes Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, and India. The conservation status of this bear is listed as endangered by the IUCN , and the trade of these animals is prohibited under the Wildlife Protection Act in Pakistan. It is thought that they may already be extinct in Bhutan.

Himalayan brown bears are known to have a sexual dimorphism, where males are larger than females. Males have a body length average of four feet and eleven inches to seven feet and three inches, and females can have a length of up to six feet and six inches. Their color is typically a reddish or tan. In Deosai National Park, Pakistan, they are the largest animals.

In October, these bears will usually go into hibernation, and emerge from their cave or den around April through May. The Himalayan brown bear is an omnivore, and is known to eat small mammals, insects, plants, roots, fruits, and berries. This bear may also eat sheep and goats. Typically, adult bears will eat at sunrise and again during the afternoon.

The Nepalese name of Dzu-Teh is associated with the yeti, a myth which this bear is often confused to be. A man named Tom Stobbart, during the Daily Mail Abominable Snowman Expedition of 1954, encountered a Himalayan brown bear, and Ralf Izzard, the Daily Mail correspondent who traveled with Stobbart on the expedition, recounted his story.  It is assumed that the recounting of the use of the name Dzu-Teh by Stobbart in Izzard’s book, The Abominable Snowman Adventure, has no grounding and can only be a personal association of Stobbart. This account was also told in the printing of the Daily Mail expedition dispatches on May 7, 1954.

Image Caption: Himalayan Brown Bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) in Perm Zoo, Russian Federation. Credit: Dan Stolyarov/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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