Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā

Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen

Ursus thibetanus

zusammengestellt von Alois Payer

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Carakasaṃhitā: Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen. -- Ursus thibetanus.  -- Fassung vom 2007-09-04. -- URL:           

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Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung SS 2007

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"THE HIMALAYAN BLACK BEAR ( Ursus torquatus).

With the black bear of the Himalaya we come to a very different animal, readily recognised by the white chevron or inverted crescent on the chest, from which it takes its scientific title, and which stands out in marked contrast to the jetty black of the remainder of the fur. This species does not attain by any means such large dimensions as the brown or grizzly bear ; the length from the tip of the snout to the root of the tail usually averaging in Nipalese examples from about 4¾ to 5½ feet, although one specimen has been recorded measuring 6 feet 5 inches. We think, however, that bears of this species from Kashmir would average somewhat larger.

The fur is very different to that of either of the three preceding species, being short and smooth, without any under fur, and becoming very thin in summer. In winter the hair on the shoulders becomes considerably elongated, so as to produce the appearance of a kind of hump. The ears are relatively large, and covered with rather long hair. In addition to the white mark on the chest, the chin is also white The ; while the upper lip may be whitish, and the nose reddish-brown, claws are comparatively short, and black in colour.

Mr. Blanford gives the weight of full-grown males as varying from 200 to 250 Ibs. ; but these weights are probably exceeded in autumn, when the Himalayan black bear becomes enormously fat, the thickness of the fat on the haunches reaching several inches. At such seasons the skin never very valuable becomes utterly useless, from being saturated with oil. The skull of this bear has a relatively shorter muzzle and a longer portion behind the eye than that of the brown bear ; from which it may also be distinguished by the slight development of the bony ridge along the middle of the brain-case.

The Himalayan black bear is an exclusively forest-dwelling animal, except in Baluchistan, where it inhabits open country. Its range extends from about the eastern portion of Persia through Baluchistan into Afghanistan and Sind ; and thence through the forest-clad portions of the Himalaya to Assam, and so on into Burma. The species is also found in the south of China and the islands of Hainan and Formosa, but in Ladak and Tibet it is quite unknown.

The black bear may be found in the Himalaya, from near the foot to elevations of some ten thousand to twelve thousand feet in summer. It is, perhaps, most abundant in the dense chestnut and oak woods surrounding the valley of Kashmir, whence it issues forth at night to make extensive depredations on the crops and orchards of the natives. Although, according to General Kinloch, the black bear will at times take to killing sheep, cattle, and ponies, it is, as a rule, a vegetable feeder. In the forest the chief food of these bears consists of chestnuts, acorns, roots, berries, ants, and honey. Whenever they raid the cultivated grounds, they consume maize, rice, buckwheat, and a number of fruits, such as mulberries, apples, pears, apricots, and walnuts the latter being especial favourites. The gourds and melons which are cultivated in many of the gardens in Kashmir are also sometimes eaten by these bears. So numerous are they that it is by no means unfrequent to see two, three, or even more, up a single fruit tree in some of the less frequented districts of Kashmir. They are, indeed, excellent climbers; and their short claws are much better adapted for this purpose than for digging. When in the forests they may be stalked during the day with comparative ease, and will generally be found feeding on roots or wild fruits. This sport, as the writer can state from personal experience, is by no means very exciting, as they are easy of approach. Another method of hunting is by beating small patches of jungle on the hills from below upwards when the bears will be driven out. They very frequently go in family parties, comprising the two parents, the two youngest cubs, and one or perhaps two cubs of the preceding litter. When driven from the forest, the whole party emerges in single- file, headed by the male, who is followed by the female, after which come the cubs according to seniority. They always break cover with the usual deliberate and sober pace characteristic of all bears, and when the party comprises five or six individuals the sight is ludicrous in the extreme.

The black bear, which is known in Kashmir as the Siyah Haput (in contradistinction to the Kunea Haput, or brown bear), does not thoroughly hibernate, but, according to General Kinloch, "appears to pass a great deal of his time during the cold months in a state of semi-torpor ; occasionally wandering out in search of food, when an unusually mild day thaws his blood and awakens him to the sense of hunger."

Like its similarly-coloured relative in North America, the black Himalayan bear is sharper in hearing than the brown bear, and it may be that the black coloration has some connection with the greater development of this sense. In disposition the black bear is decidedly more savage and prone to attack man than the brown bear ; and in the fruit-season a large number of natives are annually badly mauled in Kashmir by its talons. It must be confessed, however, that these wounds are largely due to the foolhardiness of the natives themselves, who will not hesitate to drive off the bears from their crops and orchards when armed solely with a stick. In addition to its skill as a climber this bear is a good swimmer. The young, which are nearly always two in number, are born in the spring."

[Quelle: Lydekker, Richard <1849-1915>: The royal natural history / edited by Richard Lydekker ; with preface by P.L. Sclate. -- London ; New York : F. Warne, 1893-96. -- 6 Bde. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. -- Bd. 2. -- S. 20 - 23. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-27]


"Ursus torquatus. The Himalayan black Bear.

Ursus thibetanus, F. Cuvier, Hist. Nat. Mam. pi. 213 (1824) ; id. Ossemens Fosf. ed. 3, iv, p. 325 ; Blyth, Cat. p. 76 ; Jerdun, Mam. p. 70 ; Lydekker, J. A. S. B. xlvi, pt. 2, p. 285.
Ursus torquatus, Wagner, Schreb. Säugeth. Supp. ii, p. 144 (1811).
Helarctos tibetanus, Horsf. Cat. p. 124 ; Adams, P. Z. S. 1858, p. 618.
Ursus gedrosianus, W. Blanf. J. A. S. B. xlvi, pt. 2, p. 317 ; id. P. A. S. B. 1879, p. 4.

Rinch or Rich, Bhālu, H. ; Mam, Baluchi ; Hāput, Kashmiri ; Sanār, Hing bong, Nepalese; Dom, Bhotia; Sona, Lepcha; Māgyen, Limbo; Sutum, Daphla; Situm, Abor ; Mapol, Garo; Mūphūr, Musu-bhurma, Kachari ; Vūmpi, Kuki ; Sawom, Manipuri ; Hūghūm, Thāgua, Thega, Chūp, Sevān, Sāpā, Naga ; Wek-won, Burmese.

Size moderate. Fur smooth, not long or shaggy ; hair of moderate length, without any woolly underfur ; the hair on the shoulders is, however, considerably elongated in winter, giving the appearance of a hump. Claws comparatively short, strong, and curved. Ears rather large and covered with longish hair. The skull behind the orbits is longer in proportion than that of U. arctus, and the muzzle is shorter. The sagittal crest is but slightly developed even in old animals.

Colour. Perfectly black almost throughout, with the exception of the inverted white crescent or horseshoe-mark on the chest which is narrow, with each end prolonged upwards in front of the shoulder. The chin, too, is white, and sometimes the nose is reddish brown, the upper lip being whitish. Occasionally the paws are said to be reddish brown. Claws black.

Dimensions. There is much variation, and males are larger than females. In several measurements of ordinary individuals given by Hodgson, the head and body vary from 4 ft. 8 in. to 5 ft. 5 in., but a very large male measured 6 feet 5 inches from nose to rump. The tail without hair measures 3 to 3½ inches, the hair at the end 1 to 1½ inches more, the planta or sole of the hind foot to the heel 7½ to 9 inches ; ear without hair and measured from crown of head 5 to 5. Weight of full-grown males 200 to 250 lbs. A good-sized adult skull from Nepal is 10 inches in basal length and 6.8 broad. As a rule this is a considerably larger and heavier animal than the sloth-bear of the Indian Peninsula.

Distribution. This bear is found throughout the forest-regions of  the Himalayas, extending westward through parts of Afghanistan into Baluchistan and the Khirthar range on the west frontier of Sind. The western limits are about the frontier of. Persia, to the eastward U. torquatus is found in the Assam ranges and some of the countries to the southward, being certainly found, though not common, in Pegu, where it was obtained by Theobald, and as far south as Mergui, whence Dr. Anderson obtained living specimens for the Calcutta Zoological Gardens. It also occurs in Southern China, Hainan, and Formosa. "Whether the bear found in the plains of Eastern Bengal and Assam is this species or the sloth-bear, I cannot state positively. I once saw a skin of U. torquatus obtained from an animal that I was assured had been shot in Lower Bengal; and a writer in the 'Asian 'of January 21st, 1888, states that he shot one in the Terai, close to the Patli Dun, North-west Provinces.

Synonymy. The specific name thibetanus, although the oldest, must be abandoned, because the animal, although common on the southern slopes of the Himalaya, is never found in Tibet itself. I was misled by a discoloured skin of very small size into giving a new name, U. gedrosianus, to the Baluchistan bear; but remarkable as it appears that a Himalayan and Chinese species should inhabit so very different a climate as that of Baluchistan, there appears no sufficient distinction to justify the separation of the bear from the latter country.

Habits. In the Himalayas and throughout its range, except in Baluchistan, the black bear is a forest animal. In the mountains it is found at various elevations from near the base of the hills to about 12,000 feet; usually in summer it ascends to 9000 or 10,000 feet or higher, whilst in winter it descends to 5000 feet or even lower. It is found frequently about villages, and often feeds in fields of grain or in fruit orchards ; it has even been known to eat the pumpkins growing on the roof of a house. In winter it subsists largely on acorns. Its food consists mainly of fruits and roots ; but whilst it does not dig so much for the latter as the brown bear, it is far more In the habit of climbing trees for fruit, and is not unfrequently found in fruit-trees at night or in the morning. It is also, like most bears, fond of honey, and is said at times to attack the beehives in villages. At the same time it is the most carnivorous of the Indian bears, and not only kills sheep, goats, deer, and even cattle and ponies, but occasionally feeds on carrion.

Some observers state that black bears hybernate, whilst Adams declares they do not. The fact is doubtless, as stated by Kinloch, that they do not hybernate completely as U. arctus does, but that they remain in a state of semitorpor, often in a hollow tree, during the cold months, moving about and feeding a little on milder days.

By all accounts the black bear is a much more savage animal than the brown bear, and as the former lives near villages, he more frequently comes in contact with men. Many natives are killed or severely injured by black bears in the Himalayas, and some Europeans ; but still it appears an exception for even a wounded bear to charge. This animal is much sharper of sight and hearing than the Himalayan brown bear, and is said by some to have remarkable powers of scent : but by other accounts its sense of smell, though fairly acute, is very inferior to that possessed by deer or especially by wild sheep or ibex. It has the usual walk and quick but clumsy gallop of the family. It is an excellent swimmer, crossing swollen torrents with ease.

The usual den of this bear is in dense jungle, often in a cave or hollow tree amongst thick bush. As in the case of U. arctus, adults are generally found alone except in the pairing-season ; but the cubs remain with the mother till full-grown, and those of two ; seasons are sometimes found with her at one time. This accounts for the parties of four or five bears occasionally noticed. The period of gestation has not been recorded, but is probably the same as in other bears ; the young, usually two in number, are born in spring, and are very small, and blind for some time after birth. If captured young they are easily tamed, but are said to be less docile than the other three Indian species, and are certainly less frequently seen in captivity."

[Quelle: Blanford, W. T. <1832 – 1905>: Mammalia. -- 1888 - 1891. -- (Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma). -- S. 197 - 199. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-06]