Sea stars: The benthic equivalent to the polar bear

A national research group led by researchers at the University of Manitoba has shown that polar bears share the position of top predator of the coastal Arctic marine ecosystem with seastars.

Canadian polar bears near 'bear capital' dying at fast rate

Polar bears in Canada's Western Hudson Bay—on the southern edge of the Arctic—are continuing to die in high numbers, a new government survey of the land carnivore has found. Females and bear cubs are having an especially ...

Why aren't all black bears black?

Sometimes a name is just a name. Take bears, for example. In Yellowstone National Park, black bears outnumber their brownish-colored grizzly bear cousins, and in coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest, if someone says "brown ...

Whitebark pine that feeds grizzlies is threatened, US says

Whitebark pine trees can live more than 1,000 years, but in just two decades more than a quarter of the trees that are a key food source for some grizzly bears have been killed by disease, climate change, wildfires and voracious ...

Industry lobbies against biodiversity goals: research

Lobbyists for pesticide and fertiliser producers are pushing "behind the scenes" against stronger protection for species and ecosystems at the COP15 biodiversity conference, research showed Thursday.

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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.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA