Diet of the brown bear in Himalaya: Combining classical and molecular genetic techniques

Autoři: Muhammad Ali Nawaz aff001;  Alice Valentini aff005;  Noor Kamal Khan aff003;  Christian Miquel aff005;  Pierre Taberlet aff005;  Jon E. Swenson aff002
Působiště autorů: Department of Animal Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan aff001;  Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway aff002;  Himalayan Wildlife Foundation, Islamabad, Pakistan aff003;  Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway aff004;  Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, Université Joseph Fourier, France aff005;  Dipartimento di Ecologia e Sviluppo Economico Sostenibile, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225698


The ecological requirements of brown bears are poorly known in the Himalaya region, which complicates conservation efforts. We documented the diet of the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) by combining classical scat analysis and a newly developed molecular genetic technique (the trnL approach), in Deosai National Park, Pakistan. Brown bears consumed over 50 plant species, invertebrates, ungulates, and several rodents. Eight plant families; Poaceae, Polygonaceae, Cyperaceae, Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Caryophyllaceae, Lamiaceae, and Rubiaceae were commonly eaten with graminoids comprising the bulk of the diet. Golden marmots comprised the major mammalian biomass in the park, and were also the main meat source for bears. Animal matter, making 36% of dietary content, contributed half of the digestible energy, due to its higher nutritious value. We did not find a significant temporal pattern in diet, perhaps because the availability of the major diet (graminoids) did not change over the foraging period. Male brown bears were more carnivorous than females, probably because of their larger size, which requires higher energy and also makes them more efficient in capturing marmots. Frequencies of three plant species were also significantly higher in male brown bears; Bistorta affinis, Carex diluta, and Carex sp. Diet of the brown bear differed significantly between the park and surrounding valleys. In valleys, diet consisted predominantly of graminoids and crops, whereas the park provided more nutritious and diverse foodThe estimated digestible energy available to brown bears in Deosai was the lowest documented among brown bear populations, due to the lack of fruits and a relatively lower meat content. The low nutritious diet and high cost of metabolism in a high-altitude environment, probably explains the very low reproductive potential of this population.

Klíčová slova:

Bears – Diet – Plants – Poaceae – Rodents – Sequence databases – Trophic interactions – Valleys


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