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Bear Species and Subspecies

India brotherbear Offline
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#1
( This post was last modified: 11-01-2016, 04:40 PM by brotherbear )

On this topic, I plan to list each species and subspecies with some information and pictures. I'm not really certain that the term 'subspecies' is still considered accurate. I remember this being discussed, perhaps somewhere on this site. *It would be really great if someone would someday create a brown bear family tree show who is most closely related to who. 
I will begin with the Atlas bear... http://www.bearsoftheworld.net/atlas_bear.asp 
 
The Atlas Bear is the only known bear in the Ursinae line known to be native to Africa. An officer from the English military named Crowther first brought the Atlas Bear to the public's attention by his investigations in 1840, which is when the scientific community really recognized its existence. The Atlas Bear was classified as subspeciesUrsus arctos crowtheri by Swiss naturalist Heinrich Rudolf Schinz in 1844. It is sometimes listed as its own species Ursus crowtheri
 
HABITAT
Though the Atlas bear mainly inhabited the Atlas Mountains and surrounding areas of Morocco, Algeria, and Libya, fossilized remains of the Atlas bear have been discovered in caverns throughout North Africa. It lived in the mountains and forests.


CHARACTERISTICS
The Atlas bear had shaggy blackish brown hair, a black muzzle, an orange rufous chest and belly, and sometimes a white spot on the throat. Its fur was 4 to 5 inches long. Its build was reported by Officer Crowther as being shorter than that of an American black bear, with a more blunt face and unusually short, although thick claws.  

  
DIET
The Atlas Bear is believed to have fed at least partially on roots, acorns and nuts.


EXTINCTION
Following the expansion of the Roman Empire in Northern Africa, thousands of bears were hunted for sport, used for execution of criminals, and killed during venatio games. The Atlas Bear is believed to have become extinct in the 1870s. 

 

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India brotherbear Offline
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I would love it if some remains were discovered of the Atlas bear which could yield some good DNA evidence of his species and background.
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India brotherbear Offline
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The California Grizzly or Golden Bear ( Ursus arctos californicus ) was a terror to the American Indians and early pioneers during the early 19th century. This is the bear found on the flag of California. In 1848, with the invention of the breech-load rifle and the California gold rush, these huge grizzlies disappeared rapidly. The last one was killed roughly 100 years ago. 
 
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/06/gr...-emotions/ 
 
The mighty grizzly bear ruled California’s valleys, forests and coasts with fierce claws and jaws until people shot the last ones nearly a century ago. Now an environmental group is asking the state to consider bringing it back.
In a proposal fanning strong emotions about humans’ uneasy relationship with big predators they are trying to save, the Center for Biological Diversity is trying to drum up support for the state to study reintroducing grizzly bears to remote areas such as the Sierra.
Not surprisingly, some critics — including the state’s wildlife agency — suggest it would be impractical and unsafe to reintroduce the 800-pound grizzly, also known as the brown bear, to the most populated state in the nation.
“Reintroducing grizzly bears to California would be idiotic,” said Pete Margiotta, a Walnut Creek resident and longtime hunter. “Somebody is going to get killed.”
But the center, a frequent plaintiff in legal disputes over endangered species, says the grizzly bear’s recovery from near extinction in the lower 48 states would be more secure if the species expanded its range beyond select areas in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington.
California still has many remote and sparsely populated areas that might be suitable for grizzlies, the center says. 
 
“The grizzly bear is an icon in California history. It’s on our state flag, but where is the grizzly bear?” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate for the national group with an office in Oakland. “There are serious issues to be addressed with reintroduction, but this idea should not be dismissed out of hand because of emotion.”

While the last grizzly in the California wild was shot in the early 1920s, there are some 1,400 to 1,700 of them in the lower 48 states, a small fraction of the 50,000 believed to roam between the Pacific Ocean and Great Plains in the early 1800s.
The Center for Biological Diversity has collected some 20,000 signatures on an online petition urging the state Fish and Game Commission to consider studying the feasibility of reintroducing the grizzly, which is listed a federal threatened species. 
 
The group also is doing social media ads for its campaign in preparation for presenting a formal petition to the commission in a few months.

Environmentalists call the messages part of a broader national campaign of “rewilding” areas to restore large carnivores such as bears, wolves, badgers and otters and protecting large connected habitats for them.
Large predators and large habitats, rewilding advocates say, are essential to keeping ecosystems healthy.

But skeptics of reintroducing grizzlies into California say there are a host of practical problems with reintroducing a bear that weighs up to 800 pounds, roughly double the size of existing black bears in California.

While grizzly attacks on people are rare in North America, the bear’s immense size and strength can make for fatal results when people get in the way. In grizzly-occupied Yellowstone National Park, bears have killed eight people over 145 years, compared with the six deaths from fallen trees, five deaths due to lightning and six deaths from avalanches. And their big appetites spur grizzlies to travel long distances in search of food, biologists say.

Jordan Traverso, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said her agency is concerned that grizzlies would wander from remote areas into less remote ones near people and livestock.

While the Center for Biological Diversity has suggested considering remote Sierra areas for grizzly bear territory, the Sierra has more limited food sources and a shorter growing season than coastal, marsh or valley areas where grizzly bears used to roam, she said. Salmon and other wildlife that grizzly bears feasted on 150 to 200 years ago are not as abundant as they used to be, she said.
“We already have many problems with conflicts with wildlife,” she said. “I cannot foresee us taking on the burden and extra cost of something like this.”  
 
Wildlife managers worry whether people could adapt to living or traveling near grizzlies — learning to carry bear repellent, not making noise to surprise bears, not leaving out food sources, and generally staying clear of bears, especially protective mothers with cubs.

“One important issue is whether people who live in their habitat would value them enough to tolerate them, and tolerating them could mean changing how you live,” said Peter Alagona, a UC Santa Barbara associate professor of history, geography and environmental studies.

Alagona is communicating with other wildlife and environmental experts about grizzly bears in a forum he expects will lead to a symposium on the history of the grizzly bear in California and the potential benefits and problems of reintroduction.

Alagona said he has formed no opinion on reintroducing grizzles, but he favors a study on the idea.

“We don’t have enough information,” Alagona said, noting that the last paper on grizzly bears in California was done in 1955.

Alagona said Europe has far more brown bears in less territory than the lower 48 states in the United States.
The California Cattlemen’s Association says it doesn’t need a study to conclude that bringing back grizzlies would be bad for ranchers and rural residents. 
 
“The call for this study is a publicity stunt,” said Kirk Wilbur, manager of government affairs for the association.

Merle McIntosh, a San Francisco resident who enjoys visiting the two grizzlies at the San Francisco Zoo, said he sees no problem with a study on grizzly reintroduction.

“Don’t you do studies so you can make informed decisions?” McIntosh said. “If we’re trying to save the grizzlies, then why don’t you study it?”

The grizzlies at the San Francisco Zoo were orphaned as cubs in Montana and brought to the zoo, which was created in the memory of a grizzly bear.

In 1889, newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst hired trappers to capture a grizzly bear in the California wild and haul it to San Francisco for display to remind the public of the majestic and vast disappearing species.
The bear, named Monarch, led a lonely life at Golden Gate Park. But his plight inspired others to establish the San Francisco Zoo after his death to provide more expansive homes for larger animals like the grizzly. 
 

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India brotherbear Offline
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#4

Mexican Grizzly or Silver Bear ( Ursus arctos nelsoni )... http://www.supergreenme.com/go-green-env...en-In-1964
 
About
The extinct Silver Bear
The Latin nomenclature for the Mexican Grizzly is Ursus arctos nelsoni. It was named after Edward William Nelson who was an American naturalist who shot one dead in Mexico in 1899, placing the subspecies further up the list of extinct animals. Mexican Grizzly Bear facts include the fact that this subspecies was one of the heaviest and biggest mammals in Mexico when wildlife flourished there. It weighed about 800 lbs. and grew to a length of nearly six feet. It was similar in every way to the brown bear except it had a distinctive silver-colored fur, leading the natives to call it the Silver Bear.
The Mexican Grizzly Bear was found in the northern territories of Mexico, particularly in the northern savannah and in the mountain forests. It lived on plants, fruit and insects, and also consumed small mammals and sometimes the remains of animals it found as it roamed. Females produced one to three cubs every three years or so. 
 

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India brotherbear Offline
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Kamchatka brown bear ( Ursus arctos beringianus )... http://www.bearsoftheworld.net/kamchatka..._bears.asp 
 
The Kamchatka brown bear or Ursus arctos beringianus is closely related to the Alaskan brown bear. It is also known as the Far Eastern brown bear and is possibly an ancestor of the Kodiak bear. It was classified as an Ursus arctos subspecies in 1851 by zoologist Alexander von Middendorff 
 
HABITAT
Kamchatka brown bears can be found on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Karaginskiy Island, Shantar Islands, and Kuril Islands, in eastern Siberia. Their dens are often built under tree roots on dry slopes in September or October, about 30 days prior to hibernation. They may spend up to 6 months in hibernation.


CHARACTERISTICS
The Kamchatka brown bear's forehead is broad and is steeply elevated over its relatively short nose because of enormous sinuses. Its fur is long, dense and soft, and varies in color from pale yellow to blackish-brown to dull black. The bear's claws which are about 4 inches in length are a dark brown and sometimes have yellowish streaks at the tips. Males can grow up to 9 feet in length and weigh up to 800 pounds. Females can get up to 7 feet in length and 700 pounds. Males can be 50 to 53 inches shoulder height. Kamchatka brown bears can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour if necessary. 

 
DIET
The large physical size of the Kamchatka bear is a result of having great access to sources of rich food like salmon, pine nuts and berries. It is of utmost importance that bears maintain their body weight in order to survive through hibernation. Because food is so accessible, the Kamchatka brown bears are of very little threat to humans. Only about one percent of all encounters result in an attack.


BREEDING
Female brown bears in Kamchatka are capable of reproducing at about 4 years of age. Cubs are born in winter while the female is hibernating. Pregnancies will end before birth if the mother too poorly nourished to support her offspring. There are usually 2 to 3 cubs per litter. Females can produce offspring from different males in a single litter. 

 
STATUS
Kamchatka peninsula is home to the highest recorded density of brown bears on Earth. Population estimates for the peninsula range from 10,000 to 14,000 bears. However, increasing human access through road development to expand mining and mineral exploration is fragmenting the bears' habitat. Kamchatka brown bears are now becoming rare in some regions close to human settlements.


As many as 2,000 bears are killed every year by poachers who come for the bear's gallbladder that sells for hundreds of dollars in the Asian market to use for folk remedies. Also placing the bears in danger are fishing industries seeking profit in the salmon, and decreasing the bears' richest source of food. The Kamchatka brown bear is considered to be endangered. 

 

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India brotherbear Offline
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#6

*About the Mexican grizzly. I have read numerous books on the topic of the historic grizzly of N.America. The Mexican grizzly was often described as being the most vegetarian and least aggressive of the grizzly clan by the early pioneers out west. The California grizzly, on the other hand, was usually described as a huge, terrifying and dangerous beast.  
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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#7

I am thinking about the Kamchatka to Kodiak, and Amur to Grizzly.
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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I wonder if the Amur Brown bear is the most primitive Brown bear? Since the earliest Brown bear originated in the North China.
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India brotherbear Offline
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#9
( This post was last modified: 10-14-2016, 11:09 PM by brotherbear )

(10-14-2016, 10:33 PM)GrizzlyClaws Wrote: I wonder if the Amur Brown bear is the most primitive Brown bear? Since the earliest Brown bear originated in the North China.

Good question. I never thought of that. Perhaps changed very little over time. 
http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/147156-U...s-lasiotus 
 

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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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I do believe they are about the same of the Grizzlies and being larger than the Eurasian Brown bears, only smaller than the Kodiak Brown bears/Kamchatka Brown bears/Peninsula Grizzlies.
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India brotherbear Offline
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East Siberian Brown Bear ( Ursus arctos collaris )... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Siberian_brown_bear

The East Siberian brown bear (Ursus arctos collaris) is a subspecies of brown bear which ranges from eastern Siberia, beginning at the Yenisei river, as far as Trans-Baikaliya, the Stanovoy Range, the Lena River, Kolyma and generally throughout Yakutia and the Altai Mountains. The subspecies is also present in Northern Mongolia.

East Siberian bears are intermediate in size to Eurasian brown bears and Kamchatka Brown Bears, though large individuals can attain the size of the latter. Their skulls are invariably larger than those of Eurasian brown bears, and are apparently larger than those of Far Eastern brown bears. Adult males have skulls measuring 32.6-43.1 cm in length and 31.2-38.5 cm wide at the zygomatic arches. They have long, dense and soft fur which is similar in colour to that of Eurasian brown bears, though darker coloured individuals predominate. Originally, Cuvier's trinomial definition for this subspecies was limited to brown bear populations in the upper Yenisei river, in response to bears there sporting well developed white collars. The subspecies has since been reclassified as encompassing populations formerly classed as yeniseensis and sibiricus, though the latter two lack the collar. Siberian bears tend to be much bolder toward humans than their shyer, more persecuted European counterparts. Siberian bears regularly destroy hunters’ storages and huts where there is food. They are also more carnivorous than their European counterparts, and do not seem to like honey. They hunt mountain hares and ungulates such as reindeer, wapiti or moose by ambushing them from pine trees. 
 

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India brotherbear Offline
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Gobi Bear ( Ursus arctos gobiensus )... http://knowledgebase.lookseek.com/Gobi-Bear.html 

Title No commentobi Bear
Category: Bear 
Facts about Gobi Bear, "Scientific name for Gobi Bear is Ursus arctos gobiensis". The Gobi Bear is highly endangered, with an estimated three dozen still alive in the wild. The Gobi Bear is considered the world’s rarest bear. Its species name is Ursus arctos gobiensis. Further genetic testing may determine if it is more closely related to the isabellinus subspecies. However, the genetic testing has shown that Gobi Bears have lived in their habitat for a very long time and that these rare bears may be the closest living relatives to the ancestral brown bear that later spread across Europe and Asia.


Appearance of Gobi Bear

The species was confirmed to exist in 1943 when a Russian scientist came to see if human like creatures truly wandered the Gobi. The Gobi Bears were found to be smaller than most other brown bears, with bronze fur that is closer to the desert’s beige tones than the dark brown of their relatives to the north. They sometimes have blazes of white on the neck and front legs.

Physical Characteristics

The Gobi Bear survives in the high, dry Gobi desert in Mongolia and China. The Gobi desert is the world’s fifth largest desert, and these bears survive in a dry climate that drops to -40F in the winter and 120F in the summer.
These bears have thick brown fur and black rings around their eyes. At a hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty pounds, they are small for brown bears. They have thick belly fur because they don’t gain as much fat as their peers. They tend to sleep in caves or semi-exposed because the Gobi Desert lacks soil to dig deep burrows into.

Behavior of Gobi Bear 

Historically, the diet of bears was up to 85% meat. This diet changes once they come into competition with humans; humans consume many of the smaller mammals that bears would eat, as well as kill the bears that try to steal or kill goats, sheep, and other livestock. The diet of most bears today, barring polar bears, is 75% vegetarian, consisting of roots, fruit, berries, some grains, and other foods. Wild Rhubarb is one of the mainstays of the Gobi bear’s diet. Wild onions, bunchgrass and wildflowers make up part of their diet. A large part of the remainder of their diet consists of insects like termites, grasshoppers, and grubs. They readily consume gerbils and hamsters they come across. Habitat deterioration in the Gobi has eroded the food resources available to the bears.
The Mongolian government has set up grain pellets in bear feeders in the Gobi Desert to make up for the natural forage lost due to livestock overgrazing.

Habitat of Gobi Bear 
 
This bear is native to the Gobi Desert, though its relative Eurasian Bears range throughout Siberia. The Gobi Bear is the only bears that live exclusively in a desert habitat. The Gobi Bear’s numbers and range plummeted after the Soviet Union took over Mongolia and dramatically expanded livestock grazing into the desert. They provided hunters with guns, which led to hunting of the bears for foods and pelts as well as shooting those that attacked livestock.

The Gobi Bear is one of the few bear populations that is not represented in zoos. All known Gobi Bears live in the Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area or GGSPA, their range centering on several natural oasis.



Trivia about Gobi Bear



The Blue Bear may be a subspecies of the Gobi Brown Bear.

The Mongolian government made 2013 the Year of the Gobi Bear.
The Gobi Bear is probably the source of the legend of the Mazaalai, a Yeti like creature. The distantly related Himalayan Blue Bear itself is the likely source of the legend of the Yeti, an opinion solidified when Sir Hillary’s expedition in 1960 came back with fur they said came from the Yeti and tests proved it came from a Blue Bear. 
 

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India brotherbear Offline
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Tibetan Blue Bear ( Ursus arctos pruinosus )... http://knowledgebase.lookseek.com/Blue-Bear.html 

Title :Blue Bear
Category: Bear 
Facts about Tibetan Blue Bear, "Scientific name for Blue Bear is Ursus arctos pruinosus". The Blue Bear is also called the Tibetan Bear, Tibetan Blue Bear, Himalayan Blue Bear, Tibetan Brown Bear, Himalayan Snow Bear, Horse Bear and Ursus arctos. In Tibetan, the Blue Bear is called dom gyamuk. 

Related Species of Blue Bear

The Himalayan Blue Bear is a separate species from the Himalayan Black Bear, species name Selenarctos thibetanus laniger. The Himalayan Black Bear has black fur and a light brown muzzle. They are a little shorter than the Blue Bear. The Himalayan Blue Bear is also a separate species from the Ursus arctos isabellinus or Isabellinus or Himalayan Brown Bear. The Ursus arctos isabellinus or Himalayan Brown Bear, also known as the Himalayan Red Bear, is smaller than the Blue Bear and more reddish or tan in color.


Appearance of Tibetan Blue Bear

This Blue Bear is a cold-adapted version of the Asian Brown Bear. It may or may not be a subspecies of the Gobi Brown Bear. The face is usually reddish yellow. The adults have a ring of beige fur on the neck and chest. Young Tibetan Blue Bear are lighter in color than the adults.
The Blue Bear is rarely seen in the wild, and most of what is known about it comes from fur and bone samples. It was identified as a subspecies in 1854 from these remnants. It may or may not be extinct in the wild today.

Physical Characteristics Blue Bear

The Blue Bear receives its name for the white outer coat mixed with brown that results in a blue tint to its fur.
They grow to be six to seven feet (two meters) in length, one meter at the shoulder.
Cubs stay with the mother for at least a year. They reach sexual maturity at three to four years of age. 

Behavior of Tibetan Blue Bear

The Yeti is regularly reported in snow fields and on high snowy peaks. Bears rarely venture this high except in search of mates or in times of food scarcity.
All of the Himalayan Bears are diurnal. The Tibetan Blue Bear are most active around sunrise and sunset, but many have shifted to nocturnal activity to avoid predation by humans. The Blue Bear eat pretty much anything, from nuts, fruit, honey, insects, and roots. The Blue Bear will attack livestock like sheep, goats, and cattle if their natural foods are lacking. They primarily only attack humans if their cubs are threatened.
They hibernate through the winter, with mothers giving birth while hibernating. 
 
Habitat Blue Bear



It is native to the western part of the Himalayas. It is found in eastern Tibet’s mountains, western China, Nepal, and sometimes in Bhutan. It tends to live near the tree line at high altitudes.



Trivia about Blue Bear



The Blue Bear may actually be the inspiration for the story of the Yeti. For example, Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1960 expedition for the Yeti brought back scraps of fur that were identified later as belonging to the Blue Bear.

The Blue Bear is considered highly endangered, as is the Gobi Bear. The Blue Bear’s greatest threat is not hunters seeking food and pelts but the bear’s bile for use in Chinese medicine.
Trade blue bear products is prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES. 
 

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India brotherbear Offline
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Syrian Brown Bear ( Ursus arctos syriacus )... https://www.iucn.org/content/mystery-brown-bears-syria 
 
Mystery of Brown Bears in Syria 

Fri, 18 Feb 2011
Various written accounts and artefacts indicate that the Syrian Bear (Ursus arctos syriacus), a subspecies of the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), once ranged throughout the Middle East, as far south as the Sinai Peninsula. The bears were often viewed as pests or as threats to human safety, and were killed as a result. These killings, combined with the loss of suitable habitat through deforestation and subsequent desertification, led to a marked reduction in the bears’ range. Today, the Syrian Bear still ranges from Turkey to Iran, including the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but is generally believed to be extinct in its namesake country of Syria, as well as neighbouring Lebanon. However, a discovery made in 2004 may indicate otherwise. 

It is always difficult to know whether a rare animal might still exist in some remote pocket of a country where it was thought to have been eliminated. A notable example is Iraq. The Bear Specialist Group (SG) was unaware of bears in Iraq until 2006, when a US military pilot observed what he believed to be a wild Syrian Bear through an infrared sensor. He did a Google search for bear experts in the Middle East, found the Bear SG, and reported his sighting. Recently, we learned from the NGO Nature Iraq that Syrian Bears definitely still exist in parts of the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq — during interviews conducted in 2010, local people in 10 of 30 sites reported the presence of bears, and local hunters occasionally kill bears and document these events on their cell phone cameras.

In Syria, however, the general consensus seems to be that bears have been absent for approximately 50 years. Even as long ago as the 1880s, bears were reported to be rare in Syria, living only around Mount Hermon and some remaining wooded areas in or near Lebanon. A report published by Dr. Lee Talbot indicated continued sightings of Syrian Bears, as well as bear skins and cubs, for sale in markets in Syria as late as 1955. But this seemed to be the last hard evidence of bears in this country, and they are now listed as Extinct in Syria on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM .

It therefore came as quite a surprise for the Bear SG to learn that Brown Bears had been chosen as Syria’s Animal of the Year for 2010. Further investigation of the reasons behind this species choice led the Bear SG to Mr. Issam Hajjar, who had seen and photographed tracks of a bear in 2004 in the Bloudan area, near Damascus. Issam works as a researcher and photographer for the French Institute of the Middle East in Damascus, focusing on the historical and geographical heritage of Syria. In January 2004, he was hiking with a friend through the Anti Lebanon mountain range; it was foggy and snow blanketed the plain at 1,900 metres. He commonly encountered tracks of wolves, rabbits and birds in this area, but the tracks he found that day were much larger, and had five toes and distinct large claws. He took photos, and only later realized that the tracks he had documented belonged to a bear. Although this was the first evidence of bears in Syria in about 50 years, the discovery went unheralded until, as a consequence of this finding, this species was chosen as Syria’s Animal of the Year six years later.

What is particularly unusual about the finding is that local people seemed unaware of there being bears in the vicinity, even though the plains where the tracks were found are dotted with apple orchards, an obvious bear attractant. The Bear SG has examined the photos and has no doubt that the tracks are that of a bear. Furthermore, if bears have survived in this area since the 1950s, there must be a reproductively active population, not just a few scattered individuals (which might live for 20-30 years). Alternatively, the tracks may have been from a wandering vagrant from Turkey, or a previously captive individual. Recent investigations in the area revealed stories of a bear that was killed in that area the same year the footprints were discovered. 
 
Presently, only 1% of the land area in Syria is protected, and Syrians are prohibited from entering most nature reserves. Moreover, few wildlife surveys have been conducted. Consequently, Syrians are typically not aware of the wildlife inhabiting their country, which makes it difficult to stimulate conservation-related activities. The Bear SG will pursue this intriguing situation further, believing that documenting the rediscovery of a charismatic animal like the Syrian Bear –the Brown Bear of Antiquity – might just be what is needed to generate more enthusiasm for conservation.


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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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#15

The Brown bears from the new world are more closely related to those well known Brown bears in the old world such as the Amur Brown bears and Kamchatka Brown bears.

Those less known Brown bears in the old world are more distantly related to the new world Brown bears.
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