Ursus arctos - Linnaeus, 1758
Brown Bear
Other English Common Names: Grizzly Bear, Mexican Grizzly Bear, brown bear
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758 (TSN 180543)
French Common Names: ours brun, ours grizzli
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102187
Element Code: AMAJB01020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Carnivores
Image 12061

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Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Carnivora Ursidae Ursus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Ursus arctos
Taxonomic Comments: GENERAL: Recent genetic studies of brown bears indicate that the traditional morphology-based taxonomy of brown bears is highly discordant with bear phylogeny as indicated by geographic patterns of mtDNA variation. Based on recent and permafrost-preserved Pleistocene material, there is no genetic (mtDNA) support for the validity of any of the commonly recognized North American subspecies (e.g., horribilis, middendorffi), and North American brown bears do not represent a distinct lineage with respect to brown bears in Northern Asia and Europe (Waits et al. 1998, Leonard et al. 2000, Barnes et al. 2002). If a subspecific name is to be applied to North American brown bears, it should be Ursus arctos arctos, a taxon whose range encompasses both North America and parts of Eurasia. This name has been adopted for North American brown bears by ITIS (http://www.itis.usda.gov/index.html), which lists U. a. horribilis and U. a. nelsoni as invalid because they are junior synonyms of U. a. arctos.

SPECIFICS: Based on electrophoretic data indicating that the Kodiak Island population is reproductively isolated from the mainland Alaska population, Allendorf et al. (1992) concluded that the Kodiak Island population may warrent subspecific recognition (i.e., as subspecies middendorffi). However, subsequent studies have revealed that the mtDNA sequence observed in all individuals from Kodiak Island is identical to sequences observed in brown bears from many regions in mainland Alaska and from northern Asia and Europe (Waits et al. 1998). MtDNA data also provide no support for a distinct taxonomic group on the Kenai Peninsula; all sequences from individuals sampled in this region group with other mainland Alaska bears. Cronin et al. (1991) also found that the two morphological forms of U. arctos, grizzly and coastal brown bears, do not cluster as distinct mtDNA lineages. Waits et al. (1998) suggested that the morphological differences used to define brown bear subspecies may represent phenotypic plasticity in differing environments rather than long-term genetic isolation.

Recent studies of mtDNA from permafrost-preserved material indicate that the Beringian brown bear population of 36,000 years ago included mtDNA sequences from three clades now restricted to local regions in North America (Leonard et al. 2000). Thus the geographical partitioning of mtDNA haplotypes in extant North American populations is a relatively recent event (a consequence of founder effects and lineage partitioning) rather than evidence of long history of isolation. Waits et al. (1998) had suggested that the North American clades of brown bears likely are evolutionarily significant units that should be managed separately for conservation, but the genetic data from the perma-frost preserved material raise doubts about this (Leonard et al. 2000).

Bears from Yellowstone National Park have less allozyme variation than do all other North American populations except for the Kodiak Island population. There are significant genetic differences between Cabinet-Yaak-Selkirk and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem bears, but not between Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide populations (Allendorf et al. 1992).

Western and eastern populations of brown bears in Europe comprise two distinct lineages that diverged about 850,000 years ago (Dorozynski, 1994, Science 263:175).

Various kinds of evidence (fossils, protein, mitochondrial DNA) indicate that the brown bear and polar bear are sister taxa, more closely related to each other than either is to the black bear (see Shields and Kocher 1991, Cronin et al. 1991). In fact, recent mtDNA data indicate that the brown bear is paraphyletic with respect to the polar bear (i.e., brown bears from certain areas are genetically more closely related to the polar bear than they are to other brown bears) (e.g, Waits et al. 1998, Barnes et al. 2002, and other sources cited therein).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 18Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Has disappeared over much of Holarctic range, and continues to decline in the face of habitat alienation, alteration, and loss, as well as increased human access to wilderness; low reproductive rate limits recovery rate; stable populations occur in some large wilderness areas; protection and management are necessary for long-term survival.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4 (15Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N3N4 (14May2013)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (S4), Arizona (SX), California (SX), Colorado (SX), Idaho (S1), Kansas (SX), Minnesota (SX), Montana (S2S3), Navajo Nation (SX), Nebraska (SX), Nevada (SX), New Mexico (SX), North Dakota (SX), Oklahoma (SX), Oregon (SX), South Dakota (SX), Texas (SX), Utah (SX), Washington (S1), Wyoming (S1)
Canada Alberta (S2), British Columbia (S3), Labrador (SX), Manitoba (SXB), Northwest Territories (S3), Nunavut (S3S4), Quebec (SX), Saskatchewan (SX), Yukon Territory (S3)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS:LE,LT,XN,PDL
Comments on USESA: Listed by USFWS as Threatened in the 48 coterminous States (July 28, 1975), Endangered in Mexico (June 2, 1970), and Endangered in China/Tibet (subspecies U. a. pruinosus) and Italy (subspecies U. a arctos) (June 14, 1976).

USFWS was petitioned to delist the grizzly bear populations in the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem, the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem, the Selkirk ecosystem, and the North Cascades ecosystem; USFWS (1993) found that the petitioner did not supply substantial information to indicate that the petitioned action may be warranted. These populations are currently under review in the petition process.

USFWS (Federal Register, 2 July 1997) proposed the reintroduction of the grizzly bear into east-central Idaho and a portion of adjacent western Montana; this population would be classified as XN (nonessential experimental). USFWS (Federal Register, 4 June 1998) found that a petition to change the status of grizzly bear populations in the North Cascades area of Washington and the Cabinet-Yaak area of Montana and Idaho from threatened to endangered is "warranted but precluded." USFWS (Federal Register, 17 May 1999) found that reclassification of grizzly bears in the combined Cabinet-Yaak/Selkirk recovery zones of Idaho, Montana, and Washington from threatened to endangered is warranted but precluded by work on other higher priority species.

The USFWS (November 17, 2000) made a final notice of their intention to reintroduce Grizzly Bears into east-central Idaho and a portion of adjacent western Montana: this population will be classified as a nonessential experimental population (XN).

USFWS (Federal Register, 17 November 2005) has proposed to establish a distinct population segment (DPS) of the grizzly bear in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and surrounding area, and also proposed to remove the Yellowstone DPS from the List of Endangered Wildlife. This proposed delisting would not change the threatened status of the remaining grizzly bears in the lower 48 (Federal Register 17 November 2005).

Mexican populations are included in CITES Appendix 2.

USFWS (March 29, 2007) established a distinct population segment (DPS) of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) for the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) and surrounding area (hereafter referred to as the Yellowstone DPS, Yellowstone grizzly bear DPS, or Yellowstone grizzly bear population) and has removed this DPS from the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife.

The delisting of the Yellowstone DPS does not change the threatened status of the remaining grizzly bears in the lower 48 States, which remain protected by the Act. They also announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Yellowstone grizzly bear population as endangered. They found that the petition and additional information in the files did not present substantial scientific information indicating that listing the Yellowstone grizzly bear population as endangered was warranted and are not initiating a status review in response to this petition.

USFWS (March 26, 2010) issued a final rule to comply with a court order that has the effect of reinstating the regulatory protections under the ESA for the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) and surrounding area. This rule corrects the grizzly bear listing to reinstate the listing of grizzly bears in the GYA. As of the filing of the respective court order, any and all grizzly bears in the GYA are listed as a threatened species under the ESA. Because the Court vacated the entire delisting rule and remanded it to the Service, there is no longer a GYA grizzly bear DPS. Thus, all grizzly bears in the lower 48 States are again listed as threatened.

In 2016, USFWS published a proposed rule to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) (subspecies U. a. horribilis).

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R6 - Rocky Mountain
Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):X,SC
Comments on COSEWIC: The species was considered a single unit and designated Not at Risk in April 1979. Split into two populations in April 1991 (Prairie population and Northwestern population). In May 2012, the entire species was re-examined and split into two populations (Western and Ungava populations).
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix II

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Formerly throughout western North America, north from northern Mexico; northwestern Africa, all of the Palearctic from western Europe, Near and Middle East through the northern Himalayas to western and northern China and Chukot (Russia) and Hokkaido (Japan) (Wozencraft, in Wilson and Reeder 1993); see Pasitschniak-Arts (1993) for additional details. In North America, present range includes Alaska, northern and western Canada, northern Continental Divide in Montana, Cabinet/Yaak mountains in Montana/Idaho, Selkirk Mountains in Idaho/Washington, Northern Cascades in Washington, and Yellowstone area, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho. Some bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem of Montana and Idaho and Selkirk ecosystem of Idaho and Washington mingle in the Purcell Mountains in southern British Columbia, and movement data indicate that the Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk populations are connected to a much larger population (several hundred bears) extending north into British Columbia (USFWS 1999). However, the listed distinct population segment is confined to the U.S. portion of these ecosystems. Common only in Alaska, parts of the Yukon, northern and coastal British Columbia, and portions of the northern Rocky Mountains. USFWS has proposed reintroduction in the Bitterroot ecosystem of east-central Idaho and adjacent Montana. In Europe, apart from northern Europe, distribution has shrunk to a few isolated populations in the Pyrenees, the Apenines, the Alps, the Balkan Peninsula, and the Carpathians (see Hartl and Hell 1994).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: In North America, there are currently about 30,000-35,000 grizzly bears in Alaska, 21,660 in Canada, and 800-1000 in the lower 48 states. Population estimates for Asian grizzlies are unavailable. See Knick and Kasworm (1989), Brannon et al. (1988), Knight et al. (1988), Hayward (1989), and Keating (1989) for discussion of status and mortality patterns in Glacier and Yellowstone parks and in Idaho-Washington-British Columbia. As of the early 1990s, the Yellowstone population was estimated at 200-350 (Mattson and Reid 1991). USFWS (1990) noted that a record 57 cubs were born in the Yellowstone ecosystem in 1990. Northern Continental Divide population was estimated at 440-680 in 1985, unknown number in Selway-Bitterroot (probably fewer than 10) (Matthews and Moseley 1990). Selkirk recovery zone includes an estimated 46 bears, 19 in the U.S. and 27 in Canada (USFWS 1999). Cabinet-Yaak recovery zone supports 30-40 bears (conservative estimate) (USFWS 1999). Between 1964 and 1991, there were 21 credible reports of grizzly bears in the North Cascades south of Canada (Almack et al. 1993). Canada: Current populations (early 1990s) have been estimated at between 140 and 5680 (mainly 1000-3000) individuals in each of 12 grizzly bear zones in Canada; local populations probably are being overharvested (Banci 1991, which see for a detailed analysis of status in Canada). See also Macey (1979 COSEWIC report) for further information on status in Canada (population estimated at about 20,000, the majority in the Yukon and British Columbia).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Historical decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation and killing by humans. Primary threats are habitat alienation, alteration, and loss; increased access to wilderness; and hunting (both legal and illegal). Increased access increases human-bear contacts, some of which result in destruction of bears. Alien species threaten food resources in some areas; in Montana, white pine blister rust has killed whitebark pines (seeds serve as food for bears) and knapweed have displaced native plants that serve as foods for bears and their prey. See Horejsi (1989) for a discussion of land-use threats (petroleum and natural gas development, grazing by domestic stock) and excessive bear mortality in southwestern Alberta. See also Matthews and Moseley (1990) for discussion of threats. Basic problem in the Cabinet-Yaak/Selkirk ecosystem is reduced habitat availability due to land use by humans and increased human access into habitat; this results in increased bear mortality. Access management plans have addressed this problem to some degree but have not been fully implemented (USFWS 1999). Several large mines in Montana, if approved, may pose a threat (USFWS 1999). Forestry, mining, recreation, and road building also affect habitat in British Columbia where the two portions of this distinct population segment are connected (USFWS 1999).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Declining in most areas. See Knick and Kasworm (1989), Brannon et al. (1988), Knight et al. (1988), Hayward (1989), and Keating (1989) for discussion of status and mortality patterns in Glacier and Yellowstone parks and in Idaho-Washington-British Columbia. As of the early 1990s, the Yellowstone population was stable, but "optimism over prospects of long-term persistence...does not seem warranted" (Mattson and Reid 1991). Eberhardt et al. (1994) employed data on reproductive and survival rates to conclude that the Yellowstone population may be increasing. USFWS (1990) noted that a record 57 cubs were born in the Yellowstone ecosystem in 1990. Yellowstone population was reported as stable or slightly increasing in the 1980s by Blanchard et al. (1992). A population model presented by Dennis et al. (1991) suggested that the Yellowstone population is doomed to extinction in the long term. Recent trend in Glacier population is debatable. Populations in the Cabinet-Yaak/Selkirk ecosystem appear to be responding to protective measures that reduce mortality. Population trends are inconclusive (USFWS 1999). In the western Carpathians of Europe, excessive killing by human decreased the population to about 40 in 1932; subsequent protection led to an increase to about 700 in the early 1990s (Hartl and Hell 1994).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Monitoring should concentrate on annual inventories of mothers with newborn young.

Protection Needs: Bears and habitat need to be protected in core areas throughout their range. A draft environmental impact statement for grizzly bear recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem was available in July 1997 (USFWS 1997). For the Cabinet-Yaak/Selkirk ecosystem, maintain habitat connectivity in Canada (USFWS 1999).

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Formerly throughout western North America, north from northern Mexico; northwestern Africa, all of the Palearctic from western Europe, Near and Middle East through the northern Himalayas to western and northern China and Chukot (Russia) and Hokkaido (Japan) (Wozencraft, in Wilson and Reeder 1993); see Pasitschniak-Arts (1993) for additional details. In North America, present range includes Alaska, northern and western Canada, northern Continental Divide in Montana, Cabinet/Yaak mountains in Montana/Idaho, Selkirk Mountains in Idaho/Washington, Northern Cascades in Washington, and Yellowstone area, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho. Some bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem of Montana and Idaho and Selkirk ecosystem of Idaho and Washington mingle in the Purcell Mountains in southern British Columbia, and movement data indicate that the Cabinet-Yaak and Selkirk populations are connected to a much larger population (several hundred bears) extending north into British Columbia (USFWS 1999). However, the listed distinct population segment is confined to the U.S. portion of these ecosystems. Common only in Alaska, parts of the Yukon, northern and coastal British Columbia, and portions of the northern Rocky Mountains. USFWS has proposed reintroduction in the Bitterroot ecosystem of east-central Idaho and adjacent Montana. In Europe, apart from northern Europe, distribution has shrunk to a few isolated populations in the Pyrenees, the Apenines, the Alps, the Balkan Peninsula, and the Carpathians (see Hartl and Hell 1994).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AZextirpated, CAextirpated, COextirpated, ID, KSextirpated, MNextirpated, MT, NDextirpated, NEextirpated, NMextirpated, NNextirpated, NVextirpated, OKextirpated, ORextirpated, SDextirpated, TXextirpated, UTextirpated, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, LBextirpated, MBextirpated, NT, NU, QCextirpated, SKextirpated, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Apache (04001)*
MT Beaverhead (30001), Carbon (30009), Flathead (30029), Gallatin (30031), Glacier (30035), Lake (30047), Lewis and Clark (30049), Lincoln (30053), Madison (30057), Missoula (30063), Park (30067), Pondera (30073), Powell (30077), Ravalli (30081), Sanders (30089), Stillwater (30095), Sweet Grass (30097), Teton (30099)
NM Mckinley (35031)*
UT Cache (49005)*, Daggett (49009)*, Duchesne (49013)*, Garfield (49017)*, Iron (49021)*, Piute (49031)*, Sanpete (49039)*, Sevier (49041)*, Summit (49043)*, Uintah (49047)*, Utah (49049)*, Wasatch (49051)*, Washington (49053)*
WA Chelan (53007)+, Ferry (53019)+, King (53033)+, Kittitas (53037)+, Lewis (53041)+, Okanogan (53047)+, Pend Oreille (53051)+, Pierce (53053)+, Skagit (53057)+, Skamania (53059)+, Snohomish (53061)+, Spokane (53063)+, Stevens (53065)+, Whatcom (53073)+, Yakima (53077)+
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
09 St. Marys (09040001)+, Belly (09040002)+
10 Red Rock (10020001)+, Ruby (10020003)+, Madison (10020007)+, Gallatin (10020008)+, Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102)+, Sun (10030104)+, Two Medicine (10030201)+, Cut Bank (10030202)+, Marias (10030203)+, Teton (10030205)+, Milk Headwaters (10050001)+, Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+, Upper Yellowstone (10070002)+, Stillwater (10070005)+, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+
14 Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+*, Blacks Fork (14040107)+*, Lower Green-Diamond (14060001)+*, Ashley-Brush (14060002)+*, Duchesne (14060003)+*, Strawberry (14060004)+*, Lower Green-Desolation Canyon (14060005)+*, Price (14060007)+*, Chinle (14080204)+*
15 Upper Virgin (15010008)+*, Upper Puerco (15020006)+*, Cottonwood Wash (15020011)+*
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+*, Little Bear-Logan (16010203)+*, Utah Lake (16020201)+*, Provo (16020203)+*, Upper Sevier (16030001)+*, East Fork Sevier (16030002)+*, Middle Sevier (16030003)+*, San Pitch (16030004)+*, Escalante Desert (16030006)+*
17 Upper Kootenai (17010101)+, Fisher (17010102)+, Yaak (17010103)+, Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Moyie (17010105)+, Elk (17010106)+, Blackfoot (17010203)+, Middle Clark Fork (17010204)+, Bitterroot (17010205)+, North Fork Flathead (17010206)+, Middle Fork Flathead (17010207)+, Flathead Lake (17010208)+, South Fork Flathead (17010209)+, Stillwater (17010210)+, Swan (17010211)+, Lower Flathead (17010212)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Priest (17010215), Pend Oreille (17010216), Little Spokane (17010308), Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001), Kettle (17020002), Colville (17020003), Sanpoil (17020004), Okanogan (17020006), Similkameen (17020007), Methow (17020008), Lake Chelan (17020009), Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Wenatchee (17020011), Upper Yakima (17030001), Naches (17030002), Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Upper Selway (17060301)+, Lower Selway (17060302)+, Lochsa (17060303)+, Lewis (17080002), Upper Cowlitz (17080004), Fraser (17110001), Strait of Georgia (17110002), Nooksack (17110004), Upper Skagit (17110005), Sauk (17110006), Lower Skagit (17110007), Stillaguamish (17110008), Skykomish (17110009), Snoqualmie (17110010), Puyallup (17110014), Nisqually (17110015)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A large bear.
General Description: Color ranges from pale yellowish to dark brown; usually white tips on the hairs, especially on the back, resulting in a frosted or grizzled effect; facial profile concave; claws on front feet of adults about 4 inches long and curved; noticeable hump above shoulders; head and body of adults about 6-8 feet, height at shoulders 3-4.5 feet (Burt and Grossenheider 1964).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from black bear in being larger as an adult and by having a hump above the shoulders and a concave (rather than straight or convex) facial profile.
Reproduction Comments: Breeds in late spring and early summer. Implantation is delayed; gestation lasts about 184 days. Litter size is 1-4 (average 2). Young are born in winter, remain with mother usually the first two winters. Breeding interval generally is 2-4 years. In North America, first parturition occurs at 5-6 years in the south, 6-9 years in the north. A few live as long as 20-25 years. Long life span, late sexual maturity, protracted reproductive cycles.
Ecology Comments: May congregate in areas with abundant food; otherwise solitary except when breeding or caring for young. Density estimates range from 1/1.5-4 sq km (Kodiak Island) to 1/50 sq km (Yellowstone) to 0.6-7.9/1000 sq km (Norway).

In the Yellowstone region, lack of berries and large fluctuations in the size of pine seed crops were major factors limiting bear density (Mattson et al. 1991).

In British Columbia-Montana, survivorship of adult and subadult females was the most important variable in estimating population trend.

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: In North America, often exhibits discrete elevational movements from spring to fall, following seasonal food availability (LeFranc et al. 1987); generally at lower elevations in spring, higher elevations in mid-summer and winter.

Home range exhibits much variation among different individuals, areas, and seasons; male range generally is larger than that of female; annual range varies from less than 25 sq km (Kodiak Island) to more than 2000 sq km (see LeFranc et al. 1987), generally several hundred sq km (Banci 1991, Pasitschniak-Arts 1993). Range from 2,000 to 60,000 hectares in Yellowstone, averaging 8,000 hectares (Craighead 1976); male home ranges in the Yukon averaged 41,400 hectares (Pearson 1975).

Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Alpine, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Shrubland/chaparral, Tundra, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Now found mostly in arctic tundra, alpine tundra, and subalpine mountain forests. Once found in a wide variety of habitats including: open prairie, brushlands, riparian woodlands, and semidesert scrub. Ranges widely at the landscape level. Most populations require huge areas of suitable habitat. Common only where food is abundant and concentrated (e.g., salmon runs, caribou calving grounds). Typically digs own hibernation den, usually on steep northern slope where snow accumulates. See LeFranc et al. (1987).

Young are born in den in cave, crevice, hollow tree, hollow dug under rock, or similar site. Use of summit or ridge for mating (in May-June) reported for Banff National Park, Alberta, but not elsewhere (Hamer and Herrero 1990). In the Northwest Territories, Canada, all dens were on well-drained slopes; the majority of dens faced south (25), followed by west (13), east (10), and north (8); most dens were constructed under cover of tall shrubs (Betula glandulosa and Salix), the root structures of which supported ceilings of dens; esker habitat was selected more than expected by chance (McLoughlin et al. 2002).

In Spain, remnant deciduous forests and upland creek drainages were prime feeding areas (Clevenger et al. 1992).

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Opportunistic omnivore. In all areas, vegetal matter is a dominant portion of the diet. Feeds on carrion, fish (especially coastal populations), large and small mammals, insects, fruit, grasses, bark, roots, mushrooms, and garbage. May cache food (and guard it). In the Yellowstone region, ungulate remains were a major portion of early season scats; graminoids dominated in May and June, and whitebark pine seeds were most important in late season scats; berries composed a minor portion of scats in all seasons (Mattson et al. 1991). May feed on insect aggregations (e.g., army cutworm moths, ladybird beetles); in Shoshone National Forest, Yellowstone ecosystem, alpine insect aggregations are an important source of food, especially in the absence of high-quality foraging alternatives in July and August of most years (Mattson et al. 1991). In Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, main food was roots of HEDYSARUM SULPHURESCENS in spring and autumn, ERYTHRONIUM GRANDIFLORUM corms and green vegetation (mainly umbellifers) from June through early August; VACCINIUM fruits were important in late July and August (see Hamer et al. [1991] for further details). Sometimes preys on black bear and conspecifics (Mattson et al., 1992, J. Mamm. 73:422-425).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Tends to be predominantly crepuscular with the least activity during midday, but much individual variation. Dormant in winter. In North America, usually enters den in October or November, emerges usually in April-May (some in late March in south). In the Northwest Territories, Canada, den entrance occurred primarily in last two weeks of October; the majority of bears emerged from dens in the first week of May (McLoughlin et al. 2002). The latest dates of den entrance in North America are on southwest Kodiak Island, Alaska, where mean dates of den entrance for males and females are in mid-November and early December, respectively (Van Daele et al. 1990).
Length: 213 centimeters
Weight: 680000 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: See Peek et al. (1987), Darling and Archibald (1990), and especially LeFranc et al. (1987) for reviews of conservation and management. See Banci (1991) for a detailed discussion of management issues in Canada, especially hunting, waste management, education, and park management. See Servheen and Sandstrom (1993) for a discussion of ecosystem management and linkage zones for grizzly bears and other large carnivores in the northern Rocky Mountains.

Intensive management is needed in peripheral areas where populations may need to be protected, supplemented, and/or reintroduced to wilderness habitat that still exists.

Translocation of nuisance bears has been only partially successful in Yellowstone area (see Brannon 1987). See Maguire and Servheen (1992) for a discussion of biological and sociological concerns relevant to population augmentation through translocation of bears from a larger population to a smaller one. Allendorf et al. (1992) examined genetic data and computer simulations and concluded that many extant populations can be maintained only by intensive management that includes movement of bears among currently isolated populations.

Best management strategy: elimination of human-associated food sources that attract bears and often result in mortality (Knight et al. (1988), and maintenance of intact wilderness systems. Management should be conservative and not unduly swayed by short-term positive trends (Mattson and Reid 1991).

See Herrero (1985) for information on prevention of attacks on humans.

In 1993, USFWS announced the availability for public review of the draft Bitterroot Ecosystem (Idaho, Montana) and North Cascades (Washington) chapters of the grizzly bear recovery plan; similar chapters already have been completed for the other ecosystems where grizzly bears still exist in the lower 48 states.

Recently revised recovery plan is controversial among bear biologists; an alternative plan has been authored under the aegis of The Wilderness Society (1994, Science 263:599).

A draft environmental impact statement for grizzly bear recovery in the Bitterroot Ecosystem was available in July 1997 (USFWS 1997). See Roy and Fischer (1995) for an overview of the recovery approach in the Bitterroot ecosystem.

Draft habitat-based recovery criteria for the Yellowstone ecosystem were available in July 1999 (contact Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, University of Montana, Missoula; FW6_grizzly@fws.gov).

Monitoring Requirements: Monitoring should concentrate on annual inventories of mothers with newborn young. Eberhardt et al. (1994) recommedned the continued use of radiotelemetry to increase the sample size on which population estimates are made.
Biological Research Needs: Further genetic research needed to clarify the taxonomic relationships of coastal, island and other populations.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Den site, Feeding concentration site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Major water barriers; arbitrarily set at those greater than 5 kilometers across.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Occurrences generally should be based on major occupied physiographic or ecogeographic units that are separated by areas of relatively low bear density or use (e.g., major urban areas, very rugged alpine ridges, very wide bodies of water) These units may be based on available bear sightings/records or on movements of radio-tagged individuals, or they may be based on the subjective determinations by biologists familiar with bears and their habitats. Where occupied habitat is exceptionally extensive and continuous, that habitat may be subdivided into multiple contiguous occurrences as long as that does not reduce the occurrence rank (i.e., do not split up an A occurrence into multiple occurrences that would be ranked less than A).
Separation Justification: Brown bears are highly mobile and readily disperse hundreds of kilometers across many types of habitats; populations and metapopulations tend to encompass huge areas (Craighead 1976, Pearson 1975). Hence, meaningful bear occurrences should represent large occupied landscape units, but these often will not be demographically isolated from other occurrences. Isolation would require huge separation distances that would yield impractically large occurrences.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 10 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Set conservatively low, based on an individual home range of 8000 hectares. Extent of viable populations will be much, much larger. In the northern interior of North America, inferred extents of 23 kilometers (home range of 40,000 hectares) can be used.
Date: 28Sep2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 17Feb2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cannings, S. G., and G. Hammerson
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 18Mar2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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