High protein diet may harm polar bears

A high protein diet appears linked to kidney disease and shortened lifespans for captive polar bears, a relationship similarly suspected in humans, according to a review led by Washington State University wildlife biologist ...

Bringing a justice lens to wildlife management

Almost all of the world's 31 largest carnivore species, including gray wolves, grizzly bears, cheetahs and lions, have been impacted by human development and activity. Most of these animals have seen their range and populations ...

Solving the disappearance of bears and lions with ancient DNA

An international team of researchers led by the University of Adelaide, suggest a change in climate is the likely cause of the mysterious disappearance of ancient lions and bears from parts of North America for a thousand ...

Montana advances grizzly bear plans that could allow hunting

Montana wildlife officials on Tuesday advanced plans that could allow grizzly bear hunting in areas around Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, if states in the U.S. northern Rockies succeed in their attempts to lift federal ...

Montana seeks to end protections for Glacier-area grizzlies

Montana is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lift threatened species protections for grizzly bears in the northern portion of the state, including areas in and around Glacier National Park, officials said Monday.

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Bear

Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. That which pertains to bears is called ursine. Bears are found in the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Common characteristics of modern bears include a large body with stocky legs, a long snout, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and a short tail. While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous, with largely varied diets including both plants and animals.

With the exceptions of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals. They are generally diurnal, but may be active during the night (nocturnal) or twilight (crepuscular), particularly around humans. Bears are aided by an excellent sense of smell, and despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they can run quickly and are adept climbers and swimmers. In autumn some bear species forage large amounts of fermented fruits which affects their behaviour. Bears use shelters such as caves and burrows as their dens, which are occupied by most species during the winter for a long period of sleep similar to hibernation.

Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur. To this day, they play a prominent role in the arts, mythology, and other cultural aspects of various human societies. In modern times, the bear's existence has been pressured through the encroachment on its habitats and the illegal trade of bears and bear parts, including the Asian bile bear market. The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, and even "least concern" species such as the brown bear are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations is prohibited, but still ongoing.

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