by: charles bratton
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. Adult bears generally weigh between 100 and 635 kg (220 and 1,400 lb). Its largest subspecies, the Kodiak bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator. There are several recognized subspecies within the brown bear species. In North America, two types of the subspecies Ursus arctos horribilis are generally recognized—the coastal brown bear and the inland grizzly bear; these two types broadly define the range of sizes of all brown bear subspecies. An adult grizzly living inland in Yukon may weigh as little as 80 kg (180 lb), while an adult coastal brown bear in nearby coastal Alaska living on a steady, nutritious diet of spawning salmon may weigh as much as 680 kg (1,500 lb). The exact number of overall brown subspecies remains in debate.
While the brown bear's range has shrunk and it has faced local extinctions, it remains listed as a least concern species by the IUCN with a total population of approximately 200,000. As of 2012, this and the American black bear are the only bear species not classified as threatened by the IUCN. However, the Californian, North African (Atlas bear), and Mexican subspecies were hunted to extinction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and many of the southern Asian subspecies are highly endangered. The smallest subspecies, the Himalayan brown bear, is critically endangered, occupying only 2% of its former range and threatened by uncontrolled poaching for its parts. The Marsican brown bear in central Italy is believed to have a population of just 30 to 40 bears.
The brown bear's principal range includes parts of Russia, India, China, Canada, the United States (mostly Alaska), and the Carpathian region (especially Romania), The brown bear is recognized as a national and state animal in several European countries. It is the most widely distributed of all bears
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene – Recent
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Brown bear range map