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Ursus arctos syriacus

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Rare and Endangered Animals of Armenia

The Brown Bear

The Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) is a species of bear that can reach weights of 130–700 kg (300–1500 pounds). The Grizzly Bear, the Kodiak Bear and the Mexican Brown Bear are North American subspecies of the Brown Bear. It is sometimes referred to poetically as the bruin.

Brown Bears have coats in shades of blond, brown, black, or a combination of those colours; the long outer guard hairs are often tipped with white or silver, giving a "grizzled" appearance. Brown Bears have a large hump of muscle over their shoulders which gives strength to the forelimbs for digging. Their heads are large and round with a concave facial profile. In spite of their size, they can run at speeds of up to 64 km/h (40 mph).

Once native to Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Brown Bears are now extinct in some areas and have had their numbers greatly reduced in others. They prefer semi-open country, usually in mountainous areas. The Brown Bear ranges from Alaska east through the Yukon and Northwest Territories, south through British Columbia and through the western half of Alberta. Isolated populations exist in northwestern Washington, northern Idaho, western Montana, and northwestern Wyoming. The subspecies U. arctos horribilis (the Grizzly Bear) is the common Brown Bear of continental North America; the subspecies U. arctos middendorffi (Kodiak Bear) includes bears on the Alaskan islands of Kodiak, Afognak, and Shuyak. The range of the subspecies U. arctos nelsoni is in northern Mexico.

There are estimated to be about 200,000 Brown Bears in the world. The largest populations are in Russia, with 120,000, United States with 32,500 and Canada with 21,750. Brown Bears are found in small populations in much of Europe from Spain to Russia. There are 14,000 in ten separate population in Europe. 95% of Brown Bears in the United States are in Alaska.

The Brown Bear is primarily nocturnal and in the summer puts on up to 180 kg (400 pounds) of fat, on which it relies to make it through winter, when it becomes very lethargic. Although they are not true hibernators and can be woken easily, they like to den up in a protected spot such as a cave, crevice or hollow log during the winter months.

Being omnivores, they feed on a variety of plant parts, including berries, roots, and sprouts; fungi; and fish, insects and small mammals. Brown Bears are largely vegetarian, deriving up to 75% of their dietary food energy from vegetable matter. Interestingly, bears eat an enormous number of moths during the summer—sometimes as many as 20,000 to 40,000 in a day—and may derive up to one third of their food energy from moths.

Brown bears have also been found stealing the kills of tigers, wolves, and pumas. Two male tigers were found killed by brown bear in the year 2000.

Normally a solitary animal, the Brown Bear congregates alongside streams and rivers during the salmon spawn. Every other year females produce one to four young which weigh only one pound at birth.

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Animal in Armenia

Անդրկովկասյան գորշ արջ ("Andrkovkasyan gorsh arj")

Status

Included in the Red Book of the former USSR.

Habitat in Armenia

Can be met in the south-eastern part of Armenia, particularly in Meghri, Kapan, Goris, Sisian, Vayk, and Yeghegnadzor regions. Sometimes reach until the hill foots of Mt. Aragats.

Number in the wild

According to data, some 150 bears live in the natural habitat.

Reasons for decrease in number

Changes in the environment, economic activities of the population.

Number in captivity

6 species kept in the Yerevan Zoo.

Measures of protection taken

Hunting is forbidden since 1967. Licensed hunting forbidden since 1969. Taken care in Khosrov and Shikahogh Nature Reserves.

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Bear