Bears

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Bears

Grizzly

Geographic Distribution

BIOLOGY

Currently, the environment of grizzlies is globally distributed over wide areas of Europe, warm Asia and North America, but with an uneven population that is fragmented into smaller cores. At the level of the Iberian Peninsula, formerly it occupied all, but from the XVIII c., Galician-Cantabrian and Pyrenean cores (including the pre-Pyrenees) are the only ones. In the Pyrenees specimens have been introduced from Slovenia.The Cantabrian Mountains has a population of 170 bears that are located in two different areas. The western population den is the most populous with 140 copies, while in the eastern population only 30 survived.Meanwhile, the situation of brown bears in the Pyrenees is extremely serious because its population is less than 30 copies, when early last century the figure was 200.

Despite the image we have of the bear as a fierce animal and fearsome, attacking herds, hives and even humans, this omnivorous mammal is hardly a threat to humans, as long as you do not feel in danger.

The brown bear is a corpulent animal; it seems heavy but it is extremely agile and has a great ability to know everything that happens in its environment. Although its eyesight is not good, it has an excellent sense of smell and hearing.

Dimensions:Length: 1'7 to 2'2 m.Height at shoulder: 0.4 to 1.2 m.Weight: 80 to 250 kilos.Longevity: 20-25 years.

Its hair colour varies from whitish to dark brown or even black, depending on the age of each specimen.The powerful bear skull consists of forty-two teeth.Its teeth are similar to herbivores or humans, rather than sharp as in other carnivores.

Behavior:Adults usually remain in an area of action, males alone and females alone or with their cubs. These areas of action may have areas in common with other areas of action of other brown bears.Bears need to accumulate fat to spend the winter in their dens. It was found that female bears that don not get adequate food, because of food shortages in the autumn, have trouble reproducing the following year.Pups are born in January (bears hibernate for about three months, between November and March) in number from one to three, and remain with the mother for the first year and a half of life, learning how to hide, seek food, mark the territory, etc. In its first coat they usually have a white collar around the neck, a mark that usually disappears after the first moult, when they are a year old.

Evidence of their presence: It is not always easy to detect traces of bear, as for the trace is well marked, the ground must be smooth. It sometimes happens that a foot steps on the other and the imprint is deformed

Other indications: To know if there is a bear in a territory, we can take into account its signals: - Excrements.- Stones stood.- Shattered anthills.- Scratched trees.The bear has powerful claws. With its strength it digs on the ground or marks it nails deeply into tree trunks that it even debark.

FOODBear food is greatly varied.It is omnivorous, but its trend is clearly vegetarian, with more than 85% of their diet consisting of weeds, roots, fleshy fruits, berries and nuts, the remainder being insects, mushrooms, honey, carrion, occasionally small animals, eggs, etc. .The bears in the Cantabrian area do not usually fish, hardly hunt, and feed on fruit, nuts, various plants, honey, mushrooms and insects. Its activity is nocturnal and it avoids human presence. It scrolls through different areas of its habitat, according to the time of year it is. Similarly, it adapts its feeding to the new environment at all times and it mates or hibernates as appropriate. Like this:THROUGHOUT THE YEAR:Steep mountain forest.Refuge: cave or den, lodged or rest.Permanent Food: berries, fruits, beechnuts.Reproduction and breed of young bears.IN SUMMER:Upper forest limit.Very varied food varied, mainly blueberries.IN SPRING AND AUTUMN:Lower boundary of woods. Lower parts of valleys.Food: acorns, chestnuts, hazelnuts, cherries, honey.WINTER: With snow, it remains in the cave and feeds on accumulated fat reserves.Food: carrion of domestic and wild animals.

HabitatIt is a forest animal. In the Iberian Peninsula, it uses especially oak, beech and birch in the Iberian Range, and oak, beech, black pine and fir in the Pyrenees.

THREATSAlthough it seems that the population trend is to increase the Cantabrian Mountains, threats have been and still are important:1. Breeding bears recovery is slow.2. There is a lack of connection between subpopulations and subsequent risks of low genetic diversity (Dovecote et al., 2006).3. Mortality associated to man shots and illegal steel ties (although this appears to be declining).4. Inconveniences and loss of habitat are very important (National Commission for Protection of Nature, 1999).


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