Altitudinal distribution and seasonal migration of asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) in kaghan and Siran Valleys, Pakistan

Elsevier, Heliyon, Volume 9, July 2023
Ullah Z., Said A., Khan A.M., Ullah A., Noreen S., Mahmood S.

The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is considered one of the largest carnivores inhabiting different territories including coniferous and broad-leaved forests, extending from sea level to the elevation of 4300 m. The Kaghan and Siran Valleys in Pakistan's District Mansehra were the location of the current study. To evaluate the altitudinal distribution and seasonal movement of Asiatic black bears in the region, we used three approaches (sign distribution survey, questionnaire-based survey, and scat collecting). A total of 1858 bear signs were observed during the field survey, the highest number of signs was dig marks (1213) followed by plant uprooting. Dig marks (MER: 7.574) were observed repeatedly in each potential site of both valleys followed by plant uprooting (MER: 1.594). Similarly, the altitudinal distribution of black bears was determined through the frequency of signs concerning elevation (m). Elevation of the study area ranged from 1300 to 3500 m and the most abundant population was recorded at the elevation of 2501–3000 m followed by 2001–2500 m. About 52% of local communities encountered black bears during the summer season in the field followed by Spring (23%.8) and winter (15.3%). Manshi Reserver forest (24.5%) from Kaghan and Panjul Reserve forest (31.6) from Siran Valley are the potential summer migratory spots. Eleven scat samples were collected with a 0.103 encounter rate (ER). Most of the scats (about 70%) were observed within the maize crop field in the summer season at low elevation, while just 30% of the scat was observed in the winter season in the forest.