GOBI DESERT BEARS
The Gobi bear is a subspecies of the brown bear, Ursus arctos
. It is listed as critically endangered; the population includes less than 40 adults. Gobi bears mainly eat roots, berries, and other plants, sometimes rodents. Small compared to other brown bear subspecies, adult males weigh about 100 kilograms (250 lbs) Although the Gobi bears were never plentiful, their decline truly started in the 1960s when the Mongolian government, then dominated by the Soviet Union, encouraged an increase in livestock production in and around the desert. This policy took a toll on the already sparse vegetation and sparked killing of bears, which were likely seen as a threat to the domesticated animals, even though the bears never eat other large animals.