Bears are some of the most powerful animals around the globe. From Polar bears to Black and Brown bears, even Koala Bears (whom are not technically classified as such) are all remarkable and unique in their own ways.
If you’re interested in getting a taste of how these bears differ from each other and taking a more comparable glance at these creatures- continue reading and enjoy!
If you want to look at an overview of specific bears, use the below headings to guide you there:
First, we’ll take a look at the world’s largest bear- the Polar bear.
There are currently about 23,000 polar bears left worldwide , but without action on climate change, predictions of further decline in Polar Bear numbers by mid-century remain a forefront concern.
These big, white and fluffy bears deserve action to save their lives, because the biggest threat to their well-being is global warming as a result of mankinds actions.
3 facts about polar bears that make them unique:
- Underneath the Polar bears thick fur coats, these bears have pitch black skin.
- Their coats are translucent (see-through) but are seen as white due to reflected visible light in the tundra environment they find themselves in.
- A Polar bears diet, where possible is of a high-fat content in both ringed seal and bearded seal fat. However, polar bears often have to scavenge for smaller prey. Especially because hunting for seals is becoming harder as a direct result of climate change.
Males reach sexual maturity between ages six and ten, and females between ages four and six. Between April and late June, as the snow starts to melt and days become longer, adult male polar bears begin to find mates on the sea ice by following scented trails left by footpads.
Mating takes place on the sea ice but the fertile eggs do not implant until the following fall, and only if the mother has enough fat to sustain herself and her cubs during the denning season. This process is called delayed implantation. Adult males stay with the female for a few days before taking off on their own again.
After feeding throughout the summer and fall, a pregnant female polar bear starts to build a maternity den, where she will give birth to her baby cubs and nurse them until spring.
To build her den, the female excavates a small snow cave—just large enough for her to turn around in. She then waits for the snow to close the entrance tunnel.
Wild polar bear cubs are most often born in December. The mother bear gives birth to one, two, or three cubs. Twins are most common.
The family remains in the den until March or early April. During her entire time in the den—four to eight months—the mother doesn’t eat or drink. Her sole purpose is to provide for her cubs.
Polar Bear Cub Characteristics:
Newborns are 30-35 centimeters long (12 to 14 inches) and weigh little more than half a kilogram (one pound). They are blind, toothless, and covered with short, soft fur. They are completely dependent on their mother for warmth and food. They grow rapidly on their mother’s rich milk (31% fat), and continue nursing for at least 20 months.
Emerging from the Den (Spring) Polar bear families generally emerge from their dens in March or April when cubs are strong enough to survive outside and ready to make the trek to sea ice.
Now, mother bears can start teaching their young how to survive in the Arctic.
Today, cubs generally stay with their mother for 2 1/2 to three years, learning how to hunt, feed, swim, and survive. Between the time they leave their mother and they are mature enough to mate, polar bears are called subadults.
Where to find them?
These bears reside in the Arctic region. Almost 60% of Polar bears call Canada home- which may be surprising to some. This is because one automatically thinks of the Arctic circle (aka. The North Pole) to be their most popular residence. However, due to indescribably devastating climate change and global warming the continuous melting of ice caps has made it an incurably hard place to live for these special bears.
Secondly, Norway is a popular place to view these incredible bears. They can be seen amongst the spectre of the Northern lights which could be particularly memorable for visitors. If this is something that particularly motivates you, consider booking a tour with operators such as :
The sighting of an bear can never be guaranteed and its important to keep that in mind when embarking on an adventure to see Polar Bears for instance. But, the combination of expertise of the tour guides offered above and good luck, will set you in sure step to see one of the endangered giants of the ice.
Now we’ll inspect the lives of Brown Bears (also known as Grizzly bears)
Brown Bears, also known as Grizzly bears in America are possibly the most iconic type of bear, and the usual type to spring to mind when you picture any bear.
Although they look soft and cuddly, like all bears, they are in fact dangerous and one must always be very careful when observing one in the wild.
3 Facts that make grizzly bears unique
- Grizzly bears have been clocked running up to 35 miles per hour. (whereas the top human speed ever recorded is 27.8 mph).
- Bears are commonly silent but can communicate with grunts, roars, or squeals.
- Nearly 50 percent of all brown bear cubs die before they are one year old.
Where to find Grizzly Bears
As you can see, Grizzly bears are found in the Northern Hemisphere. The climate as well as terrain suit them completely, and they do not reside in Africa at all (a common misconception).
Operators in the North American regions include:
Consider looking at their sites to book a tour with them to see these fanatic creatures,
Brown bears can be found in a variety of habitats, from the fringes of deserts to high mountain forests and ice fields. In Europe, the Brown Bear is mostly found in mountain woodlands-, like in Siberia where they locate primarily in forests. Whilst in North America, they prefer tundra, alpine meadows and coastlines. The species’ main requirements are areas with dense cover in which they can shelter by day.
In Europe one of the most reliable places to see the European Brown Bear is Northern Finland, where it is possible to get very close views from hides. Another noteworthy sighting is watching Grizzly Bears catching salmon in Western Canada in the spring, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest of natural history thrills.
A European Operator in the move displayed map is Nordic Experience which is sure to provide awesome encounters with these fascinating animals.
Have you suddenly felt the desire to one day see these awesome animals in the wild for yourself? Have a look at Operators mentioned in the blog and in the map which specialise in Brown Bear encounter tours! This map indicates the areas in which Brown Bears can be found in the wild. There are also tour sights pinpointed which will enable your desire to see these awesome animals on a guided tour.
The total global population of Brown Bears is estimated to be above 200,000, where Russia has the largest number of brown bears, believed to be over 100,000.
Around 8,000 brown bears are thought to remain in Western Europe and the Carpathians (Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania). They are also thought to be found in Palestine, Eastern Siberia and the Himalayan region, possibly the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa, and Hokkaido (Japan).
The species is still fairly common in the mountainous regions of Western Canada and Alaska, where its population may reach 30,000 individuals. In other parts of the United States, fewer than 1,000 grizzly bears remain. This is in contrast to the early 1900’s where Grizzly Bears in the United States were plentiful- the increase in trophy hunting is believed to be the cause of the Brown Bears moving more Northwards.
Now Let’s have a look at Koala Bears…
These furry creatures reside in Australia and are known for being extremely warm, cute and cuddly! But did you know that they actually do not belong to the bear family? In fact they do not share many characteristics at all and are not very closely related in the animal kingdom.
Despite their similarity to bears, koalas are marsupials and belong to the scientific genus of marsupials (Metatheria).
Koala populations can only spread in habitats that meet certain conditions. A suitable habitat contains trees preferred by koalas (mainly eucalyptus species, but also some others) in certain communities on suitable soils and sufficient rainfall.
Such habitats are light eucalyptus forests in which other tree species are only occasionally represented. Sadly often, due to deforestation, koalas live in a steppe landscape with rather scattered trees, which in the worst case are located near a road. In this case, the territories are larger, as this is the only way to ensure that they contain enough food trees, where you can see koalas.
They can also be found on green areas with eucalyptus trees in cities, which however do not provide a suitable habitat for them. Such animals are usually victims of cars, dogs, swimming pools and other man-made hazards.
The size of koala populations is directly dependent on the size of the habitat and on the number of nutritionally relevant eucalyptus species growing there and their density of vegetation. If a habitat is reduced or cut up, the ecological carrying capacity of the habitat decreases proportionally to its area.
Due to clearings or forest fires, many former distribution areas of koalas today fall below the minimum size necessary for a stable population.
3 facts about Koala Bears:
- Koalas can only live in one place in the world, Australia.
- The koala only eats Eucalyptus leaves and it eats so many leaves, it smells like the leaves. The koala will eat 2.5 pounds of food a day
- The koala hops from tree to tree and climbs the trees to get the leaves..
Life cycle of Koala Bears:
Koalas average age is 13-17 years old and females live longer than male koalas because they often die ten years before due to fighting, being attacked by dogs and by cars. Their breeding seasons is once a year during from August to January.
Also koalas gestation period is only 34-36 days. Their average litter size is one. Koalas with their young one is only for a limited of time once their babies is 24 weeks their able to fully open their eyes and start to peek out of the pouch. A young Koala bear is called a Joey it basically means baby koala.
Koalas are in serious decline suffering from the effects of habitat destruction, domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 100,000 Koalas left in the wild, possibly as few as 43,000.
Where to find Koalas
Below are some of the best places to see Koalas in the wild, it is evident that the best places are on the East and South East territories of Australia.
Lastly, lets have a look at the lives of Black bears…
Black bears are omnivores that eat grasses, plants, fruits, insects, honey, small mammals, herbs, fruit, and fish.
They are found in similar terrains to the Brown bears, and are often mistaken for them. Black bears can be identified by their extremely dark (black) coat as well as their slightly smaller stature.
3 facts about Black bears that make them unique:
- Black bear are the smallest of bear species in North America – grizzly and polar bears are larger.
- Black bears stand 2 to 3 feet at shoulders and 4 to 7 feet long from nose to tail.
- On average, black bears live 20 years in the wild.
Where do the black bears live?
The American black bear can be found throughout North America from Canada to Mexico in at least 40 states of the USA. Due to the loss of its habitat and hunting, its range has been reduced to about 75% of its historical distribution.
Their primary habitat is temperate and boreal forests, but they can also be found in subtropical areas of Florida and Mexico. They are able to live under very different conditions, ranging from the arid deserts of Mexico to the subarctic tundra.
American black bears build caves where they can hibernate and give birth. To create these dens, the bears often dig a hole in the ground or snow. Alternatively, dens can be created in caves, tree holes, undergrowth or root masses.
Lifecycle of a Black Bear:
Female Black Bears begin to mate around the age of four, meanwhile males begin at the age of 6. Females can produce cubs every 2-3 years depending on the amount of food supply.
Black Bears mate in June and July. Females give birth to 1-5 cubs in January and February during hibernation. Cubs are blind and hairless at birth and only way 7-9 ounces. During spring the cubs begin to explore their environment with their mother. They learn how to survive and find food through the journeys with their mother during the spring, summer, and fall.
By the end of their second spring they are able to survive on their
The bear species is fascinating and always catches the attention of animal enthusiast. This is predominantly due to their size. It is important to realise that these poor animals are largely under threat for a whole variation of reasons.
However, the one thing that everyone can do to make a difference is reduce their carbon footprint! This will benefit a lot of wildlife and conservation issues and overall contribute to a better world to live in.
Animals around the globe believe strongly in the conservation of animals. And apart of that is the belief that we should also wish to see animals in their own wild habitat. We appeal to everyone to avoid seeing animals (like bears) in captivity unless the facility is specifically for rescue and rehabilitation purposes.
If you enjoyed this blog, read about these bears in more depth!