Climate change cuts short hibernation period of Himalayan bears

Scanty snowfall and lack of food availability due to climate change has cut short the has cut short the hibernation period of bears drastically — from an average four to five months to barely two now, experts have found. They are now recording bear attacks even in months of December and January when the animals are known to hibernate,” said J S Suhag, chief wildlife warden of Uttarakhand forest department. In 2019, four people died in 76 bear attacks, most of them in higher reaches of the Himalayas. In 2018, two people were killed in 54 such attacks. They are now hibernating for shorter durations due to scanty snowfall.

Earlier, they would hardly be seen from mid-December to mid-March. But this year, we spotted a bear with its cub wandering around in Darma valley of Pithoragarh in January. This is very unusual,” he said. Shorter hibernation has also been observed among Himalayan brown bears (Ursus arctos), said Sharma, whose team recorded sightings of the animal in January in Himachal Pradesh. The changes in hibernation patterns and lack of food resources are also turning bears aggressive, said Sathyakumar.

Back To Top