Eurasian Brown Bear, Ursus arctos arctos

The Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos) can be found throughout northern Eurasia. Also known as the European brown bear and the common brown bear, this subspecies of brown bear has a conservation status of least concern. This status was given to the species as whole, but local populations are dwindling. The range of this bear includes Northern Russia, Europe, the Pyrenees which is on the border of France and Spain, Baltoscandia , and many other small populations inhabit a number of places. The largest European populations of Eurasian brown bears can be found in Russia, while worldwide the largest populations can be found in the Siberian forests of the Ural mountain range.

The Eurasia brown bear varies in size, depending on the location, sex, and time of year. Typically, an adult male can weigh between 583 pound and 780 pounds, while an adult female are smaller weighing between 330 pounds and 550 pounds.  The biggest male was found to be 1,058 pounds and had a total body length of 8.2 feet.  Typically, the dangerous claws of these bears can grow to be 3.9 inches. The dense fur of this bear can be many colors, including burnished brown, nearly black, brown, and creamy brown. The rounded skull of the Eurasian brown bear holds forty-two teeth.

It is thought through modern research that the species to which the Eurasian brown bear belongs may have evolved around five million years ago, while the Eurasian brown bear itself branched off around 850,000 years ago. It moved into four major regions: Russia, Asia, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe.  In Scandinavia, there are also four populations of this bear. It has been found that these bears most likely branched out from bears in the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains in Spain.

The Eurasian brown bear was used as a fighting animal in Ancient Rome, with the strongest bears coming from Caledonia and Dalmatia. They were present in Britain until around 500 AD when they became extinct due to widespread hunting. The diet of this bear in antiquity was made up of eighty percent meat, but that number was reduced to forty percent in the late middle Ages. Now, this brown bear’s diet comprises of only ten to fifteen percent meat. There have only been three recorded incidents of the Eurasian brown bear attacking humans in Scandinavia.

Eurasian brown bears, as well as bears in general, have made strong impressions on humans, and this shows culturally. Areas such as Medvednica, Bern, and Ayu-Dag all include the word “bear” in their name, as well as the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Humans have named their children after the bear, calling them Urs, Xiong, and Nedved, among many other names. The Eurasian brown bear is Finland’s national animal, and is traditionally known as Russia’s symbol. The 1993 Croatian 5 kuna coin shows a bear on the reverse side.