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Kamchatka Brown Bear, Ursus arctos beringianus

Image Credit: belizar / Shutterstock

The Kamchatka brown bear (Ursus arctos beringianus) is also called the far eastern brown bear. It can be found on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Anadyrsky District, on the Kuril Islands and Karaginskiy Island, and along the coastal area of the Sea of Okhotsk. Southward from there, it can be found on the Stanovoy Range and the Shantar Islands. The range of this bear that is not within the former Soviet Union includes Saint Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. This bear is a subspecies of the brown bear, and is similar to the North American and Alaskan brown bears. It is thought that the Kodiak bear is a descendant of the Kamchatka brown bear.

The Kamchatka brown bear is the largest subspecies of brown bear in Eurasia, with a body length of up to 7.8 feet. This bear, when standing on its hind legs, can reach a height of up to 9.8 feet. Nearly the size of the Kodiak bear, the Kamchatka brown bear skull is greater in length, but broader than the Ussuri brown bear skull. The molars of this bear differ from those of the Kodiak bear in size, and the nasal cavities are shorter. The largest skull size for male Kamchatka bear is 17.1 inches, while in females the skull can reach a length of 15.1 inches. The fur color of these bears is typically dark with a purple tint, and lighter colors are not common.

The diet of the Kamchatka brown bear varies with the seasons. During the summer, these bears will feed on crowberries, blueberries, salmon trout, and humpback salmon. During fall, they will eat fish and nuts from nut-pine and mountain ash trees. If food is scarce, they will feed on marine mammals, dead fish, grassy vegetation, and berries.

Although not typically a danger to humans, the Kamchatka brown bear will attack one percent of the time.  In fact, the first travelers to Kamchatka noted that they were relatively docile compared to the east Siberian brown bear, its counterpart.  Despite this, a platinum mining plant in Olyutorsky District of Kamchatka Krai was attacked by thirty bears, which stopped people from leaving their homes and killed two guards in 2008.

For Russian hunters, the Kamchatka brown bear is a prized trophy animal. The Kamchatka Department of Wildlife Management issued five hundred hunting permits in 2005, and they cost hunters ten thousand dollars to obtain.  This recreational hunting creates a significant economic impact.

Kamchatka Brown Bear Ursus arctos beringianus


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