Ursus Arctos - Brown Bear

Brown Bear

Environment: Brown bears occupy a great variety of habitats from dry Asian steppes to Arctic shrublands to temperate rain forests. Their range overlaps that of both the American and Asiatic black bear (U. americanus, U. thibetanus), and also slightly that of the polar bear (U. maritimus). Elevationally they range from sea level to 5,000 m asl (Sathyakumar 2006). They occupy a greater diversity of habitats than any other species of bear and also exploit a large variety of food items. In terms of diet, they fall between the mainly plant-dependent ursids and the carnivorous polar bear (Mattson 1998, Sacco and Van Valkenburgh 2004). In North America, brown (grizzly) bears are more carnivorous where ungulates (especially in Arctic areas) or spawning salmon (coastal areas) are abundant (Mowat and Heard 2006).

Status: Least Concern ver 3.1

Population trend: Stable

Native Habitat: Afghanistan; Albania; Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Canada; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Italy; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mongolia; Montenegro; Nepal; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Tajikistan; Ukraine; United States (Georgia); Uzbekistan

Habitat Loss / threats: Although, as a whole, this species is secure, with relatively large numbers and an expansive range, several small, isolated populations are threatened due to their low numbers and frequent contact with humans. These small populations tend to be found in remnant wild areas surrounded by more extensive human development. As wide-ranging omnivores, brown bears are attracted to areas with available human-related foods; being large and somewhat aggressive, these bears may threaten life and property (often agricultural products) and may be killed as a consequence. Areas of high human use that attract bears may serve as significant mortality sinks (Nielsen et al. 2004, 2006). Additionally, bears living near humans may be killed inadvertently (e.g., vehicle or train collisions) or poached for parts or products: even small numbers of bears removed from small populations can have adverse effects on population growth (Wakkinen and Kasworm 2004); conversely, preventing just a few deaths may avert a population decline (Wiegand et al. 1998, Garshelis et al. 2005).