WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON SPECIES OF BEAR?

Brown bears! They are found in Europe, Asia and North America - where they are called grizzlies. Mostly solitary animals, brown bears are good hunters, able to run at speeds of up to 48 km per hour; they also swim well.

One way to identify a brown bear is by the hump at the top of its shoulder. The hump is made of muscle and helps the bear dig a den. No other extant species of bear has this hump. Adult bears have short tails and sharp teeth with curved lower canines. Their skulls are heavy and concave.

Brown bears claws are large, curved, and blunt. Their claws are straighter and longer than those of black bears. Unlike the black bear, which readily climbs trees, the brown bear climbs less frequently due to its weight and claw structure.

You might guess from their name that brown bears are brown. However, these bears can be brown, red, tan, cream, bicolored, or nearly black. Sometimes the tips of their fur are colored. Fur length varies according to the season. In the summer, their fur is shorter. In the winter, some brown bears' fur can reach 4 to 5 inches in length.

Brown bear size is highly variable, depending both on subspecies and food availability. Males are about 30% larger than females. An average-sized bear might range from 5 to 8 feet in length and weigh 700 pounds, however, much smaller and much larger specimens occur. On average, polar bears are larger than brown bears, but a large grizzly and a polar bear are comparable.

Habitat and Distribution

The brown bear's range includes northern North America and Eurasia, including the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Central Asia, Scandinavia, Romania, Caucasus, and Anatolia. At one time, it was also found throughout Europe, in northern Africa, and as far south as Mexico in North America.

Diet

Although brown bears have a reputation as fierce carnivores, they actually obtain as much as 90% of their calories from vegetation. Bears are omnivorous and naturally curious about eating nearly any creature. Their preferred food is anything abundant and easy to obtain, which varies according to the season. Their diet includes grass, berries, roots, carrion, meat, fish, insects, nuts, flowers, fungi, moss, and even pine cones.

Bears that live near people may prey on pets and livestock and scavenge for human food. Brown bears eat up to 90 pounds of food per day in autumn and weigh twice as much as when they emerge from their dens in the spring.

Adult brown bears face few predators. Depending where they live, they may be attacked by tigers or other bears. Brown bears dominate gray wolves, cougars, black bears, and even polar bears. Large herbivores rarely threaten the bears, but may fatally wound one in self-defense or protecting calves.

Behavior

Most adult brown bears are crepuscular, with peak activity in the early morning and evening. Young bears may be active during the day, while bears living near humans tend to be nocturnal.

Adult bears tend to be solitary, except for females with cubs or gatherings at fishing spots. While a bear may roam over a huge range, it tends not to be territorial.

Bears double their weight from the spring going into winter. Each bear selects a protected spot as a den for the winter months. Sometimes bears will dig out a den, but they will use a cave, hollow log, or tree roots. While brown bears become lethargic in the winter, they do not truly hibernate and can be easily woken if disturbed.

Reproduction and Offspring

Female bears become sexually mature between 4 and 8 years of age and come into heat once every three or four years. Males typically begin mating a year older than females, when they are large enough to compete with other males. Both males and females take multiple mates during the mating season, which runs from mid-May to June. Fertilized eggs remain in the female's uterus for six months, implanting in her uterus while she is dormant during the winter.

Cubs are born eight weeks after implantation, while the female is sleeping. The average litter is 1 to 3 cubs, although as many as 6 cubs may be born. Cubs nurse on their mother's milk until she emerges from her den in spring. They remain with her for about two and a half years. Males do not aid in rearing. They will engage in infanticide of another bear's cubs, presumably to bring females into heat. Females often successfully defend cubs from males, but may be killed in the conflict. In the wild, the average brown bear life expectancy is around 25 years.

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AN INTERVIEW OF YOUNG ACHIEVER TOSHANI PURI (CO-FOUNDER AND HEAD OF ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT AT V-THRED TECH. DUBAI )

How did your journey start?

When we were hit by the pandemic and under lockdown, my dad started working from home, and I could hear him speak and attend meetings over the phone every day. One day, I heard him in need of HR services for his company. It made me want to help not only him but everyone in such a need.

Is that what your Company V-Thred Tech does?

I founded V-Thred Tech in 2020, and it is a marketplace for HR services. Based on the requirements of the companies that register, we look for and offer the companies seven best matches to choose from. We also let them turn down the offers if they don't require them. Around 40 companies register themselves every month. which has been a great progress.

Tell us about your new GIGG Club and what it aims for.

It is fundamentally a learn-and-earn community. Individuals register on the website,-and post details about their achievements. This helps them connect with those who are in need of a particular specialist.

What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

I did face a lot of challenges as a 16-year-old girl managing school work and all my clubs; it was not easy for me. But at the end of the day, what is important is being confident and believing in ourselves. The best way to overcome our problems is to give it time and be mentally peaceful. Over a period of time, say 20 years from now, these may not even be 1% of the problem compared to the other issues we may face. We sometimes feel it is the end of everything when we have too many problems to face at once. The best way to come out of it is to breathe and calm our mind to help us think better to resolve the situation.

Should the youth consider entrepreneurship as a career or is it only for the experienced ones?

Everyone is bom a leader, but we just need to sense that leadership in us to take things forward to create success. Entrepreneurship is for everybody, and anybody can do it. Our knowledge of entrepreneurship is also impacted by who our mentor is.

Entrepreneurship is a give-and-take process, where we learn, put theories into practice, and gain knowledge and experience from it. A successful entrepreneur is made by that mentor who guides them in each and every step of their journey. to make the best decisions and let them know about their mistakes to get them corrected.

What are your hobbies?

In my free time, I mostly swim, listen to music or may talk to my friends. Usually when I get exhausted, I most likely go for a swim to relax and calm myself.

What is the one thing you would like to change in society?

I would like to change how society thinks due to which we are unable to talk about taboo topics, especially in India. We are afraid to open up about our issues to anyone, which affects our mental health a lot. People are unable to accept the fact that a person with stress would like to overcome it with the help of a counsellor. The problem of mental health and the taboo around it is the one thing I want to change in India.

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HOW BIG IS A BEAR CUB AT BIRTH?

When a baby bear is born, it’s called a cub. Cubs are born to sows, their adult mothers, and boars, their adult fathers. A group of baby bear cubs it’s called a litter, but a group of adult bears is called a sleuth or sloth.

Although adult bears can be very large, cubs are tiny when they are born. A huge polar bear, weighing more than 500 kg, will give birth to cubs weighing about one kilogram - far smaller even than human babies! Baby pandas weigh as little as 85 g. Bear cubs do, however, gain weight and grow very rapidly.

 Baby Black Bears are Not Always Black. Some black bear cubs are born with fur that doesn’t exactly match their name. Did you know a black bear’s fur can range from light blonde to blue-gray? 

The Kermode, a subspecies of black bear, is also known as the split bear due to its white fur, despite being a black bear. The spirit bear is located in Alaska and is nicknamed the spirit bear because it has ghostly white fur. Bear cubs are on average one pound at birth and can easily fit in the palm of your hand. By the time they’re 6 months old, they weigh about 6 pounds. 

As adults, though, they are extremely large. An adult male black bear weighs an average of 400 pounds and an adult female weighs around 200 pounds. In comparison to how large they get to be, bear cubs are tiny!

What do baby bears eat?

Bears are mammals, therefore their young nurses from their mother. While the mother bear is napping away in hibernation, her cubs will nurse until content. Once they’ve made their way out of the den, the cubs will begin weaning from their mom’s milk in the summer and will start tasting their mom’s food once they leave the den. Bears like to eat fish, leaves, bugs, fruit, berries, and much more! 

Where do baby bears live?

Cubs are born in dens that their mothers choose for birth and hibernation. They’re born between November and February and stay in the den until Springtime when they will all come out together to see the world for the first time. Once out of the birthing den, the family will move on to find shelter that would better suit their growing family.

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IS THE GIANT PANDA A BEAR?

For years experts argued about whether the giant panda should be grouped with bears, or raccoons, or classed in a family of its own. Scientific study now suggests that the panda is definitely a member of the bear family. The giant panda is a rare animal that is found only in the mountainous forests of Central China, where it feeds on a certain kind of bamboo tree. As the bamboo is not very nutritious, the panda spends 10-12 hours a day eating.

If we go by common names, there are two types of pandas: the giant panda and the red panda. However, only of them is considered a bear species.

There has been a long drawn debate among scientists as to whether the giant panda is a bear, a raccoon, or has a separate family of its own. Why? The giant pandas and red pandas have characteristics common with both a bear and a raccoon. However, with evidence from recent genetic studies indicating that the giant panda is more closely related to a bear, it is categorized in the bear family Ursidae.

Why are they called pandas?

The giant panda is a bear of the bear family Ursidae. Even though it shares a common name with the red panda, the latter is not a bear and belongs to a distinct family of its own called Ailuridae.

The term panda is believed to have its roots in the Nepalese word 'nigalya ponya', which translates to 'bamboo eater' in English. Thus, the name panda essentially refers to the bamboo-based diet of both giant and red pandas even though the two animals are classified separately. In fact, the red panda was described way before the giant panda, and the latter was named 'panda' due to the similarities the two species share, like feeding on bamboo shoots. The giant panda is also known as the bamboo bear, panda bear, or in Chinese as 'Daxiongmao,' which means 'the large bear cat.'

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WHAT IS COMMON TO MOST BEARS?

Bears are found all over the world except in Antarctica and Australia. Generally speaking, all bears have a large body, a short tail, small, rounded ears, a long, pointed snout, stocky legs with large paws and very sharp claws. Bears are hunters and eat meat, but they also eat leaves, fruits and nuts, which is why they are considered omnivores.

With some minor exceptions, all eight bear species have roughly the same appearance: large torsos, stocky legs, narrow snouts, long hair, and short tails. With their plantigrade postures—walking upright on two feet—bears walk flat-footed on the ground like humans but unlike most other mammals.

Bears range in color with species: Black, brown and Andean bears are typically red-brown to black; polar bears are generally white to yellow; Asiatic bears are black to brown with a white patch and sun bears are brown with a yellow crescent on their chest. They range in size from the sun bear (47 inches tall and weighing 37 pounds) to the polar bear, (nearly 10 feet tall and weighing 1,500 pounds). 

Most bears are omnivorous, feasting opportunistically on animals, fruits, and vegetables, with two important outliers: The polar bear is almost exclusively carnivorous, preying on seals and walruses, and the panda bear subsists entirely on bamboo shoots. Oddly enough, though, pandas' digestive systems are relatively well adapted to eating meat.

Because the vast majority of bears live in high northern latitudes, they need a way to survive the winter months when food is dangerously scarce. Evolution's solution is hibernation: Bears go into a deep sleep, lasting for months, during which their heart rates and metabolic processes slow drastically. Being in hibernation isn't like being in a coma. If sufficiently roused, a bear can wake up in the middle of its hibernation, and females have even been known to give birth in the deep of winter. Fossil evidence also supports cave lions preying on hibernating cave bears during the last Ice Age, though some of these bears woke up and killed the unwelcome intruders.

Bears may be the most antisocial mammals on the face of the earth. Full-grown bears are almost entirely solitary. This is good news for campers who accidentally encounter lone grizzlies in the wild, but quite unusual when compared with other carnivorous and omnivorous mammals, ranging from wolves to pigs, that tend to congregate in at least small groups.

Depending on species, a bear's basic communication needs can be expressed with about seven or eight different "words"—huffs, chomps, groans, roars, woofs, growls, hums, or barks. The most dangerous sounds for humans are roars and growls, which denote a frightened or agitated bear defending its territory.

Huffs are generally produced during mating and courtship rituals; hums—a bit like the purrs of cats, but much louder—are deployed by cubs to demand attention from their mothers, and moans express anxiety or a sense of danger. Giant pandas have a slightly different vocabulary than their ursine brethren: In addition to the sounds described above, they can also chirp, honk, and bleat.

Considering that early humans used to worship bears as gods, our relationship with ursines hasn't exactly been stellar over the last few hundred years. Bears are especially susceptible to habitat destruction, are often hunted for sport, and tend to become the scapegoats whenever campers are attacked in the wild or garbage cans are overturned in suburbs.

Today, the largest threats to bears are deforestation and human encroachment, and, for polar bears, climate change which is reducing the environment in which they live. On the whole, black and brown bears are holding their own, even though adverse interactions with humans have increased as their habitats become more constricted.

Credit : Thoughtco.com 

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