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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


The Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) is an endangered subspecies of brown bear (U. a. spp.) and is found throughout the Himalayan region of south and central Asia. We describe the type of and the current level of human–bear conflict (HBC) with Himalayan brown bears in the Zanskar region of northern India and suggest potential mitigation methods. Between July and September 2018, we interviewed 218 households across the Zanskar region, all of whom had experienced HBC. Participants reported increasing numbers of HBC events in the last 4 years. The most common form of HBC was damage to granaries where food is stored (50%). As a result of HBC, most participants said they feared bears (95%) and did not like them (73%). However, 95% of participants thought that the Himalayan brown bear should be conserved. We conclude that local people are receptive to bear conservation, but the current measures are insufficient to protect property and livestock. We encourage community involvement in bear monitoring as well as installation of bear-resistant food containers, solar lights, and electric fences to reduce incidences of HBC and foster tolerance of bears in Zanskar, India.