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Himalayan Black Bear

Himalayan Black Bear

I was fortunate indeed to get this close, and for this long, to such a powerful (and dangerous) animal! Luckily for me he was on the other side of the river. I was trekking to Kaphni Glacier, on the southern flanks of Nanda Devi (25,500 ft) in the Kumaon Himalaya (Uttarkhand State, India) in July 2008.

It was early morning and he didn’t see me, intent as he was on crossing the water. It is incredible to watch him wading through fast flowing glacial melt, that would knock a human off his or her feet in seconds!

These bears are hunted for their gall bladders and claws (used in traditional Chinese medicine), and are everywhere threatened by loss of habitat as forests make way for new villages and fields. Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is still a relatively safe place for them because of its remoteness, and the presence of trekkers and Forest Department staff.

HIMALAYAN BLACK BEAR from Chinmaya Dunster on Vimeo.