A World Full of Brown Bear Subspecies

Did you know that all grizzly bears are brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzly bears? That is […]

Did you know that all grizzly bears are brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzly bears? That is because a grizzly bear is a subspecies of brown bear. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to 2 different brown bear subspecies! It is debated how many different brown bear subspecies are recognized, but we will learn about some of them below!


East Siberian Brown Bear

The East Siberian brown bear (Ursus arctos collaris) is found in eastern Siberia, northern Mongolia, northern China, and eastern Kazakhstan. These bears range in color from cinnamon to dark brown and some have a white collar. They live in mountainous boreal forests as well as valleys. They eat prey varying in size from hares to elk.


Eurasian Brown Bear

The Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) is found in northern Eurasia. They can widely range in color from white to black, although they are most often brown. They live in mountainous woodland areas and eat an omnivorous diet of fruits, seeds, fish, and more. We have one Eurasian brown bear at turpentine creek, his name is Huggy, and he lives in our bear habitats at Rescue Ridge.

Gobi Bear

The Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis) has brown fur with lighter patches around its neck and has uniquely blunt claws. These bears are found in the mountains and flats of the desert in the Great Gobi region in Mongolia. They feed on wild rhubarb, wild onions, and green grasses. Only approximately 1% of their diet is made up of plant matter. They are small in numbers currently and government programs are in place to help their population. 


Grizzly Bear

You’ve all heard of this one! The grizzly bear (Ursus actors horribilis) most often have a grizzled brown color to their fur but can be a variety of colors. Grizzly bears live in coastal areas as well as mountainous regions and more in Canada and in some areas in the north western United States. These bears were once more common in North America but have been pushed out by human development. Bam Bam in the Discovery area at Turpentine Creek is a grizzly bear!

Kodiak Bear

The Kodiak bear, or Kodiak brown bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) are found on the Kodiak Archipelago, in southern Alaska, and in a small portion of the United States. They are the largest of the brown bear subspecies. Kodiak bear numbers are slowly increasing. They are omnivorous and eat a variety of plant and animal matter including grasses, forbes, and the flesh of animals that have already died.

These are several of the brown bear subspecies. They are similar but have distinct differences separating them into their own groups. Come visit Turpentine Creek to learn more about brown bears!



  • http://www.bearconservation.org.uk/brown-bear/


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