The grizzly bear is a powerful species and is master of its natural habitat. Its anatomy includes a notable muscular hump on its back above it's shoulders. It has a big head and its claws are quite long. Other characteristics include a dished face and a dip between its eyes.
It can easily overpower any animal in its territory. In fact wolves and cougars realize this and surrender their prey when the grizzly shows up. In the different habitats where grizzly bears live they will eat whatever they can find.
Normally avoiding people, grizzly bear temperament can change if cornered, surprised, or a mother's cub is endangered. However human attacks are uncommon. Their fur color varies from black to brown to mid-blond, often with highlighted "grizzly" tips. Many world record grizzly bears live in Alaska.
Historic information shows grizzlies once lived across the Great Plains and the entire western half of the United States and western Canada. Today in the lower 48 states it survives in reserves such as Yellowstone National Park, among others.
WORLD RECORD GRIZZLY BEAR
The world's largest grizzly bear ever recorded is contingent on definition. Issues center around what determines "the biggest". Factors include weight, head size, length of the bear, height of the bear when standing, dimension of shoulders, etc. Compounding the problem is often incomplete records that may or may not be authenticated.
Many claims of a giant grizzly bear of world record status have been submitted but not verified. Some are embellished with man eating stories. One of the more famous reports is a grizzly bear from Alaska having an enormous weight of 1600 pounds. The 12.6 foot tall bear had a massive head and teeth. Its gigantic paws had impressive claws never before seen.
This information received much publicity because of the bear's incredible size. The fact is that it did live in Alaska and its actual weight is closer to 1200 pounds with a height of around 10 feet. Claims of attacks by the bear that endangered the hunters have been disputed. Still this is giant bear my any measure and until disproved holds the grizzly world record for largest size.
WHERE DO GRIZZLY BEARS LIVE?
The range of the grizzly bear once covered most of the western United States, Canada, and Mexico. Relentless human expansion and hunting has diminished the bears habitat to Alaska, western Canada, and a handful of northwest states. In the United States there are grizzly bears in reserves in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington.
Grizzly bear habitat includes a wide range of territories. They can be found in valleys, brush meadows, mountains, and dense forests. They also live near rivers and coastal areas since they like fish. In general populations gather near areas where food sources are abundant.
Their limited habitat is under ongoing threat from energy companies (oil and gas), deforestation, roads, mining, and housing development. Often their territories are carved into separate segments isolating migration and foraging patterns.
GRIZZLY BEAR ATTACKS
The primary reason for a grizzly bear attack is a mother defending her cubs. Baby grizzly bears are vulnerable to predators. The mother will not hesitate to defend them against all other animals including other bears.
Grizzly bear teeth, claws, and size are impressive. Yet they would prefer to posture than attack. It will often growl, roar, or stage a false charge to avoid a fight. A standing grizzly is not a threat, it is trying to get a better view and pick up scents.
Grizzly bear human attacks are rare but can occur if the bear is surprised or is raising cubs. The number of fatal human attacks is actually low. They do not naturally hunt people to eat. For the record grizzlies are like people, they would prefer to avoid each other!
As a precaution it is wise to make lots of noise when hiking in territories where they live. Never run from a grizzly, even if you feel endangered. Despite their large size, they can run very fast in short bursts. Running may trigger their chase instinct. If you see a grizzly bear cub calmly leave the area.
WHAT DO GRIZZLY BEARS EAT?
The grizzly bear is at the top of the food chain. Their diet depends on what is available and the time of year.
Since grizzlies are omnivorous they will eat almost any kind of food where they live. Their diet includes mostly plant edibles such as wild berries, grasses, flowers, tubers, wild vegetables, etc. They also eat bugs, rodents, and can attack larger animals for food. If their habitat includes streams or ponds/lakes they will eat any kind fish, including salmon and trout.
Scientist records indicate bears make good use of their claws. They can turn over rocks, rip bark off trees to inspect for insects, and rake berries from branches.
Despite the fact that their habitat and population are endangered, they are one of the most adaptable bear species in the world. They can adapt to eat almost any kind of diet. Alaska is a perfect example as it has many different plants, insects, and animals.
ARE GRIZZLY BEARS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?
Prior to arrivals from the old world (Europe), grizzly bears where numerous and lived in large areas of the western United States and Canada. Since then the grizzly has been on the decline from hunting, persecution, and elimination of it's natural habit as humans invade the spaces where they live, eat, and raise their cubs. In fact past records from the last century show that they have been eliminated from nearly 97% of their original territory in the contiguous United States.
The Endangered Species Act has classified the grizzly bear as a threatened species in the continental United States. However in 2007 the bears were removed from the list at Yellowstone National Park. Other reserves where the bears reside include locations in Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming.
Grizzly bears are classified as vulnerable/threatened in most of Canada. Solutions to prevent further threats against them must be enacted to prevent their population from further decline.