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Grizzlies / North American brown bears

United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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#1
( This post was last modified: 11-03-2019, 11:39 PM by BorneanTiger )

Defining a 'grizzly' as a brown bear native to North America, a number of forms of grizzlies used to be recognised, though due to recent genetic tests, the number of 'subspecies' or 'species' have been reduced. 2 forms that I'd like to start with are the extinct Californian grizzly and Kodiak bear. The Kodiak bear is the largest extant brown bear, comparable in size to the polar bear, with a maximum recorded weight of about 2,200 lbs (998 kg).

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/84132877...579/?nic=1
   

YouTube:




Previously, as I mentioned earlier, there was another massive brown bear that could also rival a polar bear with a maximum recorded weight of about 2,200 pounds (998 kg), that is the Californian grizzly, which apparently got extinct in 1924, due to conflict with humans over space or cattle (which were taken as prey).

Stuffed Californian grizzly at Valley Center History Museum (the town used to be called "Bear Valley"): https://www.vchistory.org/exhibits/grizzly-bear/https://www.yelp.com/biz/valley-center-h...ley-center
   
   
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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#2

I've heard of Kermode bears (American black bears with white or light fur), but a grizzly with white fur?

Denali National Park, Alaska; credit: Becky Matsubara: https://www.flickr.com/photos/beckymatsu...916250988/

*This image is copyright of its original author


Stuffed female on exhibit at the entrance to the Museum of Westward Expansion: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffnps/5244387715/

*This image is copyright of its original author
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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During the salmon run at Fish Creek in Douglas Island near Hyder in southeast Alaska, near the border with the Canadian province of British Columbia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:...a_0858.jpg

*This image is copyright of its original author
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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#4
( This post was last modified: 10-30-2019, 01:38 PM by BorneanTiger )

@Grizzlybear @GrizzlyClaws @GreenGrolar @Styx38 @brotherbear A partly white cub in British Columbia, credit: Charles J. Sharp

*This image is copyright of its original author
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(10-30-2019, 11:31 AM)BorneanTiger Wrote: @Grizzlybear @GrizzlyClaws @GreenGrolar @Styx38 @brotherbear A partly white cub in British Columbia, credit: Charles J. Sharp

*This image is copyright of its original author



Genetically speaking, these Grizzly bears are more closely to the Polar bear than any other modern Brown bear populations.
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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#6
( This post was last modified: 11-09-2019, 11:46 PM by BorneanTiger )

Apart from the Californian grizzly, 2 other populations of grizzlies also became extinct, or at least invisible from our sight: the Mexican grizzly and the Ungava or Labrador grizzly.

Mexican grizzlies at the Field Columbian Museum, 1919. From: “The grizzly, our greatest wild animal” by Enos Abijah Mills (1870–1922): http://www.bearconservation.org.uk/mexic...y-extinct/
   

Starting with the Mexican grizzly, it was formerly given the scientific name Ursus arctos nelsoni by Clinton Hart Merriam in 1914. It was smaller than the brown bears of the northern USA and Canada. Male bears weighed up to around 315 kgs (694.46 lbs), with females being smaller. Length was around 180 cms (5.91 ft). Colour varied from pale buff-yellow to a grizzled grey or white, which would appear silver in bright sunlight, hence the bear’s Mexican name of “el oso plateado” (the silver bear). It was found in the northern territories of Mexico, particularly in the northern savannah and mountain forests, and northwards into New Mexico and Arizona in the USA. As for the bears of Baja California, they are treated as being of the Californian population of grizzlies: https://books.google.com/books?redir_esc...ia&f=false

Historic grizzly range c. 1850 (light green), remaining range c. 1920 (dark green), & approximate dates of local extirpations, where known. Probable extent of Mexican grizzly range edged in red. Credit: D. Mattson, unpublished data, edging Bear Conservation.
   

It inhabited temperate grasslands and mountain pine forests, besides being adapted to survive the arid conditions of the Sonoran Desert and canyonlands. It probably had a natural lifespan of around 25 years in the wild. In common with other brown bears, the Mexican grizzly was an omnivore eating plants, fruits, insects, small mammals and carrion. It seems unlikely that the bears would have hibernated, although they may have spent some time in winter dens. Females produced one to 3 cubs, which would remain with them for around 2 ½ years, during which the mother would not become pregnant again. Except during mating, and for mothers with cubs, the bears were solitary. With the expansion of cattle farming within the Mexican brown bear’s range, the animals increasingly came to be considered by cattle farmers as pests, and were thus trapped, shot and poisoned. The situation deteriorated rapidly in the early 20th century, and the population was rare by the 1930s. Ultimately, their range was reduced to the isolated mountains of Cerro Campano, Santa Clara and Sierra del Nido, and by 1960, it was believed that only 30 bears or less remained. Although the bears were protected, illegal hunting and persecution continued. By 1969, probably sooner, the population was apparently extinct. From time to time, there have been rumoured sightings of lone animals, and in 1980, Trevino & Jonkel published a report indicating that grizzly bears might still be present in Mexico, see: http://wildsonora.com/sites/default/file...n-1976.pdf, http://www.bearconservation.org.uk/Do%20...Jonkel.pdf 

There have been no further substantiated sightings of Mexican grizzlies.
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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( This post was last modified: Yesterday, 11:12 PM by BorneanTiger )

(11-09-2019, 11:08 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: Apart from the Californian grizzly, 2 other populations of grizzlies also became extinct, or at least invisible from our sight: the Mexican grizzly and the Ungava or Labrador grizzly.

Mexican grizzlies at the Field Columbian Museum, 1919. From: “The grizzly, our greatest wild animal” by Enos Abijah Mills (1870–1922): http://www.bearconservation.org.uk/mexic...y-extinct/

*This image is copyright of its original author


Starting with the Mexican grizzly, it was formerly given the scientific name Ursus arctos nelsoni by Clinton Hart Merriam in 1914. It was smaller than the brown bears of the northern USA and Canada. Male bears weighed up to around 315 kgs (694.46 lbs), with females being smaller. Length was around 180 cms (5.91 ft). Colour varied from pale buff-yellow to a grizzled grey or white, which would appear silver in bright sunlight, hence the bear’s Mexican name of “el oso plateado” (the silver bear). It was found in the northern territories of Mexico, particularly in the northern savannah and mountain forests, and northwards into New Mexico and Arizona in the USA. As for the bears of Baja California, they are treated as being of the Californian population of grizzlies: https://books.google.com/books?redir_esc...ia&f=false

Historic grizzly range c. 1850 (light green), remaining range c. 1920 (dark green), & approximate dates of local extirpations, where known. Probable extent of Mexican grizzly range edged in red. Credit: D. Mattson, unpublished data, edging Bear Conservation.

*This image is copyright of its original author


It inhabited temperate grasslands and mountain pine forests, besides being adapted to survive the arid conditions of the Sonoran Desert and canyonlands. It probably had a natural lifespan of around 25 years in the wild. In common with other brown bears, the Mexican grizzly was an omnivore eating plants, fruits, insects, small mammals and carrion. It seems unlikely that the bears would have hibernated, although they may have spent some time in winter dens. Females produced one to 3 cubs, which would remain with them for around 2 ½ years, during which the mother would not become pregnant again. Except during mating, and for mothers with cubs, the bears were solitary. With the expansion of cattle farming within the Mexican brown bear’s range, the animals increasingly came to be considered by cattle farmers as pests, and were thus trapped, shot and poisoned. The situation deteriorated rapidly in the early 20th century, and the population was rare by the 1930s. Ultimately, their range was reduced to the isolated mountains of Cerro Campano, Santa Clara and Sierra del Nido, and by 1960, it was believed that only 30 bears or less remained. Although the bears were protected, illegal hunting and persecution continued. By 1969, probably sooner, the population was apparently extinct. From time to time, there have been rumoured sightings of lone animals, and in 1980, Trevino & Jonkel published a report indicating that grizzly bears might still be present in Mexico, see: http://wildsonora.com/sites/default/file...n-1976.pdf, http://www.bearconservation.org.uk/Do%20...Jonkel.pdf 

There have been no further substantiated sightings of Mexican grizzlies.

Considering that extant grizzlies in Canada would be west of Hudson Bay, the Ungava-Labrador grizzly (formerly Ursus arctos ungavæsis) inhabited a rather unusual region that would be known for black or polar bears, rather than grizzlies, that is the Ungava Peninsula, the northern part of the Labrador Peninsula (which includes the region of Labrador, which is part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the regions of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord, and Nord-du-Québec, which are in the province of Quebec), which is east of the bay: https://books.google.com/books?id=BFMpvg...edir_esc=y, http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic29-4-194.pdf, http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic60-1-7.pdf, https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article...m=fulltext 

Map of the Ungava Peninsula by Maproom, with Hudson Bay being the large body of water to the west: 

*This image is copyright of its original author


Map of the Labrador Peninsula, divided between the regions of Québec and Labrador, by Joseph B~commonswiki

The probable former range of the Ungava-Labrador grizzly, by Loring and Spiess
   

The first photographic evidence of bears in Labrador dates to 1910. American ethnologist and northern explorer William Brooks Cabot made several visits to the Labrador region between 1899 and 1925, studying the Innu people. While on a canoeing expedition with Innu hunters, Cabot came upon and photographed a bear skull mounted on a pole. Upon examination of this photograph, by comparing it to other bear skulls, Harvard anthropologists Arthur Spiess and Stephen Loring concluded in 2007 that the skull belonged to a small brown bear. However, that was in 2007. The past existence of the grizzly in the area of Labrador and Quebec was scientifically proven in the summer of 1975, when anthropologist Steven Cox from Harvard University discovered a skull while excavating an Inuit midden on Okak Island in Labrador (and thus is it also known as the "Okak grizzly"). By studying wear on the molars, Cox determined that the skull belonged to a full-grown but small female grizzly bear. The discovery of more bones of bears in the area is unlikely, due to the Innu practice of consuming, utilizing or otherwise disposing of every part of hunted animals: http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic29-4-194.pdf, http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic60-1-7.pdf 

Views of the Okak skull discovered by Cox in 1975: http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arct...pdf#page=2
   

The bear's skull in Kaiaukuapiskasts (WBC1910.161) seen by Cabot in 1910, and ascertained to belong to a grizzly by Spiess and Loring in 2007. Collection of William Brooks Cabot, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution: http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arct...pdf#page=4
   

Prior to this discovery, biologists typically discounted the idea that a brown bear had once roamed northern Quebec. Various reports of brown bears from 1900 to 1950 were written off as color morphs of the more common American black bear (particularly the cinnamon bear): http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic29-4-194.pdf, https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article...m=fulltext 

One of the earliest pieces of evidence supporting the existence of a brown bear in Labrador is a map of the region drawn in 1550 by French cartographer Pierre Desceliers, which depicts three bears on the coast. One bear is white and is certainly a polar bear, while the other two are brown. In the late 1700s, a trader in the area of Labrador, George Cartwright, wrote in his journal of a bear with markings consistent to those of young grizzly bears: "The beasts, are bears both black and white (of the latter I am told there are two kinds, one of which have a white ring around their necks... "They are very ferocious,"..." https://books.google.com/books?id=BFMpvg...edir_esc=y, https://books.google.com/books?redir_esc...ar&f=false

It is not known exactly when the Ungava brown bear died out, but reports of their sightings slowly declined throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and the population was most likely extinct by the latter part of the 20th century, at least partly due to persecution by fur trappers. In fact, fur trappers' reports from local Moravian mission posts indicate that brown bear pelts were regularly recorded from the 1830s to the 1850's: http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic29-4-194.pdf, https://books.google.com/books?id=BFMpvg...edir_esc=y, https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article...m=fulltext
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