Sunday 19 May
Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis)
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Gobi bear fact file
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Gobi bear description
This subspecies of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a shy and elusive resident of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Brown bears characteristically have a robust frame with a powerful shoulder hump of muscle (3). The Gobi bear has longer limbs and a shorter golden coat than its relatives elsewhere (4).Top
Gobi bear biology
Very little is known about this shy and intriguing bear. Individuals forage in the dusty desert for the leaves and roots of plants such as wild rhubarb (4) and bajunna, as well as consuming insects and lizards (2).Top
Gobi bear range
Found only in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia (2), this population is thought to be a relict from previous centuries when the vegetation in the area was less harsh (4). Over recent decades, the population has been observed to fluctuate and the most recent estimates are as few as 30 individuals remaining (5).Top
Gobi bear habitat
Found in hilly and rocky desert areas, often near to water sources such as ponds and springs (2).Top
Gobi bear status
Listed as Very Rare in the Red Book of Mongolia (2).Top
Gobi bear threats
This relict population is believed to have become rare and isolated due to changing climatic conditions in the area (4). The population is thought to be relatively stable but its small size makes it particularly vulnerable to any chance event such as drought (2). Disturbance by people and livestock is also a threat (2), and cubs are at risk from predation by wolves (4).Top
Gobi bear conservation
Mongolian scientists are undertaking research into the behaviour of this poorly understood bear in the hope that this may hold the key to its survival (4). More information is desperately needed before any conservation measures may be considered. Time is running out for this largely forgotten bear (2) in the strange and inhospitable landscape of the desert.Top
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- A different race of a species, which is geographically separated from other populations of that species.
- Macdonald, D (2001) The New Encyclopedia of Mammals. Oxford University Press.
- Save the Gobi Bear (March, 2003) http://www.gobibear.org/index.htm
- Burnie, D. [ed.] (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
- MOUNTAINS OF THE SNOW LEOPARD (1994. Graham Creelman)
- The Red Book of Mongolia (March, 2003) http://www.owc.org.mn/ibook/0019/mammals/gobibear/1mon.html
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