Brown bears have a muscular shoulder hump, which allows them to dig up roots and rocky ground to build dens and tear apart logs to find food.
Subspecies of brown bear include the Kodiak bear, Eurasian brown bear and grizzly bear.
Brown bears don’t fully hibernate but do go into a deep winter sleep for five to six months from October/November, sometimes going for more than 100 days without eating or drinking. During this time the bear’s heart rate and body temperature drops, they curl up to conserve heat and can lose up to 40% of their body weight.
A pregnant female brown bear will typically give birth to between one and three cubs during winter, following a gestation of 180-260 days.
*International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species.
Omnivorous – berries, apples, nuts, roots, sprouts, fungi, fish, insects and small mammals
From arctic shrub land to temperate rainforests, alpine meadows and coastal areas
Northern Europe, Asia and North America
Although the worldwide brown bear population is fairly large, localised populations are fragmented and decreasing due to habitat loss, human conflict and hunting. Southern populations are more fragmented than those in the northern end of their range.
Bears are inquisitive and opportunistic and suffer in captive situations, such as zoos and circuses, displaying their distress through abnormal behaviours, including bar-biting, swaying from side to side and even self-mutilation. Historically, cruel methods were employed to force ‘dancing bears’ to perform.
Born Free supports the Arcturos Environmental Centre and Bear Sanctuary in Greece, providing lifetime care and protection for rescued bears, and orphaned bear cubs saved from the dancing bear trade.