PESHAWAR - A scientific study in Swat valley has helped in capturing of photographs of Asiatic bear for the first time in Hindu Kush mountains range besides finding new information about eating habits, hibernation period and threats to the black beast. The study titled “Patterns of spatial distribution, diel activity and human-bear conflict of Ursus thibetanus in the Hindu Kush mountains, Pakistan”, is conducted by Faizan Ahmad, an M.Phil scholar of Haripur University. Renowned zoologists and scholars including Muhammad Ali Nawaz of Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF), Dr Muhammad Kabir of Haripur University and others supervised the research work. “We investigated distribution, activity pattern and human-bear conflict of the Asiatic black bear in the Hindu Kush, a major mountain system in Pakistan and our study was conducted from October 2020 to December 2020 in the Bahrain Valley of Swat District,” informed Faizan Ahmad while talking with mediamen.

Sharing research findings, Faizan said we firstly carried out a preliminary sign survey for the bear’s presence and then installed infrared sensor camera traps in the potential suitable habitat for the bear, 23 locations for 152 trap nights, to monitor its activity. The Asiatic black bear was photographed in 12 camera stations with 60 different capture events. We obtained a trap success percent of 64.8% between 2,100 m - 2,400 m above the sea level while the total trap success calculated for the whole camera trapping survey of the bears was 39.5%.

Faizan said this is the first time that photographic evidence of Asiatic bear has been made in Hindu Kush mountains. Currently, he continued, the bear has disappeared from most of its historical range in Pakistan including Ayubia National Park, Astor, Chitral, Gilgit, Diamer, and Skardu. In this study, we investigated the distribution, activity pattern and human-bear conflict in this uncharted region to provide important information on the conservation and population status of the bear.