Bears of the World
Identifying each species

Eight species survive in the world.  Many more have gone extinct.


Compare them by coat color, appearance, geographic distribution, & skull structure
Spectacled bear (= Andean bear)
Sun bear
Panda bear
Color variations within species.
Grizzly at Denali National Park
Ebony grizzly

Glacier (black) bear



Map of Glacier Bear habitat.
These and black bears with normal coats live
on the coast of Glacier Bay National Park in
SE Alaska (coastal edge marked in black).  
The coastal area marked in brown is
inhabited by only grizzlies.
At right:  Cinnamon
(phase) black bear.

Below: Blackie mother
with two cubs of
different colors
.
Dark brown mother with
2 "ghost grizzly" cubs.
Kermodes (spirit) bear mother with 2 black

At left:  Princess Royal Island. About 10% of
the "black" bears are whitish in color -- a much
higher concentration than is found anywhere
else on the coast.  Elsewhere they are very rare.
Winter distribution of sea ice
(shown in grey) -- which limits
the distribution of polar bears.
Distributions of black and grizzly
bears in North America
Remnant grizzly populations
south of Canada
Distributions of grizzly &
brown bears in Alaska.
(gold for grizzlies, brown for
brown bears).
Distribution of black
black bears in Alaska
(black areas of image)
Kodiak archipelago
Grizzly/brown bears only
Distributions of black and grizzly/ brown
Ice Age, the islands in brown were visited by
polar bears that interbred with the grizzly/
bears Distributions of black and grizzly/
brown
brown bears.  The land area shown in
grey is brown bears.  The land area shown in
grey is still covered with glacial ice.
Claws of 4 bear species.  Note how
the polar and black bear claws are
reinforced at the base.
Black bear.  The hand of a bear is
very similar in structure to that of a
human.
Bear skeletons.  Compare the grizzly/brown bear (Ursus arctos) at upper left with its close
relative, the cave bear (
Ursus spelaeus), that went extinct in the last Ice Age.  Also compare  
the giant short faced bear (
Arctodus simus) -- that lived in much of North America, including
Alaska, until the end of the last Ice Age -- with its smaller cousin, the spectacled bear
(
Tremarctos ornatus) that still lives in the Andes of South America.  Note how they all walk
flat-footed, much as a person does (when on hands & feet).  Dogs and cats walk differently --
in effect on the tips of their fingers and toes.
Black bear
Grizzly
Giant panda
Polar bear
Cave bear
Giant short-faced bear
Black bears (black) and brown
Index of  Bear  Webpages
Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder, and to conserve
gobearviewing@hotmail.com
Ph/Fax (907) 260-9059 (Office)
39200 Alma Ave.    Soldotna, AK  99669
bear viewing Alaska, bear photography, bear safety, bear behavior



Answers to questions commonly asked by wildlife viewers on the topics listed below:
Index of  Bear  Webpages
Bear Viewing Association
To watch, to wonder, and to conserve
gobearviewing@hotmail.com
Ph/Fax (907) 260-9059 (Office)
39200 Alma Ave.    Soldotna, AK  99669
bear viewing Alaska, bear photography, bear safety, bear behavior