The Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Green Development has decided to designate 2013 as “Year of Protecting Gobi Bear,” a critically endangered species in the country, local media reported Saturday.
The ministry has unveiled a series of protective measures, including the establishment of a nature reserve to restore safe habitat for the rare wild species and the setup of a working group immediately to explore ways of increasing their population.
A survey conducted by environment officials and wildlife experts on the bear’s living conditions in their habitat has found that the number of the animal had declined to the near-extinction of 22 heads.
The measures also included introduction of foreign expertise on wild animal protection and reproduction and the setup of protection fund for gobi bear, a subspecies of the brown bear dwelling in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.
Mongolian wildlife experts told local media that environmental degradation in gobi bear’s habitat and the animal’s long breeding cycle were the two major reasons for their population drop. The bear usually gives birth to one cub in every two years.
Mongolia has prohibited hunting gobi bear since 1953.