Bears are fascinating animals. Being usually of high intelligence, and with most being omnivores, they can be of great interest to watch every where they are found.
There are 8 species of bear and their conservation status varies dramatically.
With it’s range originally encompassing the whole of Europe, much of Asia, most of North America and the atlas mountains of Africa (the only native American bear), it has unfortunately been in decline for some time. These days the bear habitat consists of Alaska and parts of Canada as well as northern regions of the USA, relict populations in Western Europe though they still have a stronghold in Eastern Europe and and Russia as well as sections of central Asia. Highly intelligent they have never lived at high densities, as members high on the the food chain, few places can support large populations for long. With their impressive intelligence, and inquisitive nature, the can be tough to live alongside. With all that in mind brown bear watching can be an enjoyable pastime in many different places. Around much of the world there are newer hides in places that bears still exist – these allow you to watch bears in their natural habitat. We currently only have one listed (it’s will with a visit, link below) but we are always keen to list many more.
A relatively new species of bear, the polar bear is the only species adapted for polar life. Still being found all around the Arctic, there are roughly 26,000 in the wild at the current time. Whalers and for traders killed many in the 19th century, and while they have recovered experts predict that global warming is likely to lead to the extinction of the polar bear.
North American black bear
Thought to have a population as high as 600000, the American black bear is far and away the most numerous of the world. As omnivores they are highly effective hunters, however the number of current black bears may be higher than it should naturally be. This is because humans killed most of the wolves and grizzly bears in the USA. As a result black bears who are lower on the food chain have been filling in an ecological niche at the top. In areas where wolves or grizzly bears returned the black bears suddenly become far less problematic.
The Asian black bear or moon bear
Also known as the white chested bear and the moon bear, the asiatic black bear is found in the Himalayas, southeastern Iran, the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, the Korean Peninsula, northeastern China, the Russian Far East, the islands of Honshū and Shikoku in Japan, and Taiwan. It is thought that around 50,000 remain in the wild.
Sun bears are found in the tropical forests of southeast Asia. The range of the sun bear is bound by northeastern India to the north and goes as south and southeast through Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in mainland Asia to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia to the south. It is the smallest of the bear species, and spends much if it’s time climbing around in trees. Giving this huge range it might alarm you to hear that only 1000 to 2000 of these bears remain.
The only bear of South America, as the last of the short-faced bears is closest relative is a bear now-extinct that once lived in Florida. Another aboreal species, a spectacled bear is a great climber, and their range covers basically the entire andean mountain range. It is not thought that more than 2000 bears remain. While not accurately depicted in pictures, this is also the species of bear that Paddington Bear was. Rare to see and hard to find, there is nevertheless an increasing market place forming around tourism. No more than 2000 remain
The only bear which has adapted a totally vegetarian diet, Panda bears are well known partly as a result in their face being the mark of the charity WWF, though it’s also likely that China’s panda diplomacy has had something to do with this. Eating almost exclusively bamboo they have a very restricted range in the mountains. Through much effort the current population is 2060 strong. While very expensive and needing high level of fitness, treks to see the Panda can be arranged.
Currently 1800 remain in the wild
The smooth bear is restricted to India, with about 20000 remaining. Unfortunately their population is falling, as a result of habitat loss.
These bears live alongside tigers and many other species though they are not particularly easy to find.
Over time we hope to list many places where you can visit bears and see them in their wild home, these will appear here, and a list of posts we have published on bears will appear below these links
2200 polar bears live on the west coast of Greenland. It is unknown how many live on the east coast, but this group appears to
Linking bear and wolf populations across Europe is the best way to preserve them longterm – is this possible?
The Pyrennes in the south west of France, and the corresponding area across the border, are a wonderful area of wilderness. There are currently about
Polar bears appear to be surviving despite the lack of sea ice, should we take this as a positive sign?
A group of polar bears are surviving in south-east Greenland are surviving despite there not being sea ice for most of the year.
Over the last couple of years, snow leopards have been sighted in Pingwu county – Sichuan province. This confirms that the range of the snow