Information On Bears

 

Information

Bears: Polar bears in the Arctic; black bears, brown bears, grizzly bears, in North America; bears throughout the Andes; black bears in the Himalayas and south-east Asia; brown bears from western Europe to Kamchatka and from the Near East to Japan; sloth bears in India and Ceylon; and sun bears in Burma, Malaya and Sumatra.

A Native American saying holds: "A pine needle fell. The eagle saw it. The deer heard it. The bear smelled it."

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The majority, polar bears excluded, are forest bears in greater or lesser degree, because although omnivorous, they are predominately vegetarian, with berries, nuts, grass and fruits an essential part of their diet.

Forests also provide shelter in which the male bear can find a den in the winter and the female bear rear their cubs.

The forest also poses as a refuge from the torment of man's ways.

Some of the Himalayan black bears inhabit arid plateaus of rock and scrub. A southern race of black or brownish bear live in the parched mountains of northern Peru.

Loss of habitat is widely understood to be the most serious long-term threat to the survival of bears, especially grizzly bears, in British Columbia.

During the monsoon, insects and larva are plentiful under fallen logs and stones, and in the bark of trees. All bears have a highly developed sense of smell, and a sloth bear can locate a grub three feet below ground. But most sought after are termites, which are taken by the sun and black bears.

Himalayan black bears raid orchards for apricots, pears, apples, peaches and walnuts. Berries are essential in a bears diet.

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The spectacled bear, or Andean bear, gets its name because it appears to be wearing glasses. There are no records of spectacled bears hibernating due to the availability of food sources throughout the year.

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Although most bears are vegetarians their habitats are plentifully supplied with plants and fruits for only five or six months of the year. Therefore, in order to survive they become predators and scavengers. There is little doubt that all bears would prefer a high-meat diet. Forest bears are not physically equipped to take down a large mammal; and since they are unable to find enough rodents and carrion, they must become omnivorous. Only the polar bear has solved the problem by learning to prey on seals.

The Kermode bear, often referred to as the ghost bear, has beautiful cream-coloured fur. It is found only on three small, isolated islands found off the western coast of British Columbia. The brown eyes and black nose of these bears eliminate any possibility that the Kermode bears are an albino race.

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It has been known for sometime that both brown and black bears use the same trails through the forest and tall grass for fifty years or more until the trails are deeply worn. Unlike deer who takes the easiest route, bears forge straight ahead not deviating through rugged country and up steep hills.

It is also known that both black and brown bears have the habit of "blazing" prominent trees along these trails. They do this by standing on their hind legs and biting and clawing the bark as high up as they can reach. This is believed to be a way of marking the bears territory.

Black bears like to feed in the cool of the evening or in the early morning. During the heat of the day, they will often seek shade in the dense underbrush.

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All pregnant female bears in temperate and Arctic areas retire into dens for periods of several weeks or months during the winter. Bear cubs are small at birth, no larger than a guinea-pig, and less than 1/200 or 1/350 the weight of their mothers. They are blind for the first weeks, hairless and cannot stand until they are six weeks old.

The Future of the Bear

Five out of eight species of bears in the world are endangered, including the Asiatic black bear, Asiatic brown bear, spectacled bear, panda and sloth bear.

Many hunters define trophy hunting as 'selective hunting', that is picking out the oldest, largest or best looking animal. They argue that this kind of hunting diminishes the chance of success and therefore the impacts on populations are minimized and provincial revenue per kill is maximized.

It is generally believed by wildlife officials and many other authorities that illegal poaching of bears for their parts is on the rise in North America. Growing affluence among Asian communities, both in North America and abroad, has caused an increasing demand for bear parts, especially gall bladders, for use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Bear paws and meat are also sought after as exotic delicacies.


 


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