Anonim

A mother of a brown bear (Ursus arctos) and her three cubs seem to observe the photographer's goal. Once grown, the young will reach the length of 2-3 meters and the weight of almost 800 kilograms. All thanks to an almost completely vegetarian diet. Brown bears, in fact, eat meat only in case of need. But they don't dislike fish: they are in fact excellent salmon "fishermen".

Their future is much brighter than their cousins ​​living in China and Vietnam. In these countries the brown bears are imprisoned in the so-called "bile farms" where they are kept in very narrow cages, with a straw inserted in the belly, which is used to extract the bile that is used to produce shampoo or to obtain "traditional" drugs that they should have miraculous properties.

Clumsy, bungling and clumsy. That's exactly how Yoghi and Bubu - the bears who are the protagonists of a cartoon from the 60s - try to steal from picnic baskets. Real bears, on the other hand, despite their size, are really agile. Suffice it to say that they can run for 2 km maintaining an almost constant speed of 50 km per hour. And that, thanks to the muscular front legs and sharp claws, they can climb trees without problems. Also reaching remarkable heights: up to about ten meters. While the cubs come up to the top of taller trees to use them as a swing, making the leaves move here and there.

Texts and photographic research: Paola Grimaldi and Federica Ceccherini

This summer the emergency that most alarmed the Italian and European authorities was that of the elderly, the subjects most at risk in the event of torrid temperatures and a high rate of humidity.

The elderly are not the only ones to suffer particularly under the ferragostan heatwave: in the zoos in fact the animals used to a completely different natural environment can weaken and suffer. Workers put large quantities of ice and fresh fruit at their disposal to ensure that they do not dehydrate. The polar bear of the photo receives a large icicle with various types of fruit inside: for him it will be a long summer in the zoo of Yongin 50 kilometers from Seoul.

The children of Berlin a few days ago had a new and unusual playmate, Juan a spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) escaped from the zoo of the German capital. A nice scare for mothers and guardians, but fortunately nothing happened. Juan used a tree trunk to climb over the fence, then happily tripped through the park for half an hour amidst lawns, swings and slides. He also tried to gain freedom by "borrowing" a bike, but with little success, because it was linked. In reality it was a trap devised by the guardians to intrigue and stop him, so as to put him to sleep with a pair of arrows to the sleeping pill. The spectacled bear is the only species of bear that lives in South America. Usually vegetarian, it is very fond of fruit.

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have two hunting strategies, with one main goal: seals. The first is a technique of stalking: they identify the holes in the thick slab of ice of the Arctic region where the seals emerge to breathe. There they await and lay their deadly trap. The other system is more dynamic: the bear swims under the ice through the same channels used by the seals, as long as they trap them in the narrower ones from where there is no escape.

The puppy of the photo is not pointing its prey: in fact, the mother still takes care of her lunch. And he, looking underwater, waits impatiently for her to come back from the hunt …

The brown bear (Ursus arctos) or grizzly bear, as they call it in the Rocky Mountains, is moving ever further north, from the cold forests of North America to more polar areas. It is no longer a case of sporadic cases, such as those recorded in the last two years, but of a real movement towards the north that worries scientists. The grizzly is in fact notoriously vegetarian, but moving to areas without vegetation could testify to the change towards a more carnivorous diet, which would endanger the fauna of the place. In the past, they were known as ferocious killers of white bear cubs, which populate these regions.

Killing one's child is considered the most heinous crime in human society. In nature, infanticide is sometimes a strategy of survival or convenience.

The female of the grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis), for example, if she gives birth to only one small, abandons her immediately, hoping to mate again as soon as possible. In fact, for a mother bear it is too expensive to invest three years of her life (so much is the weaning period) for just one baby, better to hope for a new litter of at least two puppies.

They withstand temperatures well below zero (even - 30 degrees), emerge unscathed from snow storms and plunge into icy waters, even swimming at 10 kilometers per hour. Polar bears are certainly not chilly and all thanks to a particular structure that covers their body. The hairs of the coat as well as being water repellent have a concave structure that allows to retain heat.

But it is not over, the skin of the bear under the white fur, is black in order to attract the rays of the sun and even below has a layer of fat about 10 centimeters thick. In this way the animal is isolated from the cold and drafty.

See more pictures on the polar bear

The baribals, or black bears, from North America are famous, among researchers, for a strange habit: they "shave" by rubbing themselves against the trees. In this way, in fact, they pull away the unwanted hair, scratch their back because they cannot do it in any other way, but the crafty ones can also make a snack. Rubbing the trunk for a while, in fact, they manage to get some small insects out of the bark, which they are fond of.

The most famous polar bear, we know, is Knut, which is located at the Berlin zoo. But it is not the only one, the captive bears according to some estimates are around 680, among polar, brown and American bears, of which 6 in Italy.
Because of their tendency to loneliness, bears do not like contact with other animals or with men. And it is not difficult to become aggressive but it is difficult to recognize an attack, because they do not give many "warning" signs. Today, animal welfare organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Association (WCA) are fighting for bears (and other animals) to no longer be kept in zoos.
In the picture: a free polar bear.

About 80-85 bears live on the Italian territory, but the number is growing. They live free in protected areas. In the Adamello Natural Park (in Trentino) there are about twenty brown bears, while about 50-60 specimens of Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus) - a subspecies of brown bear present only in Italy - live in the Abruzzo National Park, Molise and Lazio. And just in this park in 2007 three bears were killed for poisoning, including Bernardo, the mascot of the park. On this occasion, the WWF requested the establishment of a sort of scientific police to investigate these crimes against protected animals. The case is still open today.

Photo: a Marsican bear photographed in the Abruzzo National Park. © Piero Papa

In the early twentieth century a Canadian officer, Harry Colebourn, bought a bear cub for 20 dollars from a hunter and called it Winnipeg. Nicknamed Winnie, the bear became the army mascot. At the outbreak of the First World War the officer, unable to take it with him, entrusted the animal to the London zoo. Here the bear lived a long time playing with the children who went to visit it. Among these was the son of British writer Alan Alexander Milne, who turned him into the yellow bear Winnie the Pooh, the protagonist of his stories for the little ones. Since then he became the idol of all the children of the world.

Among the native Americans the word "bear" was never pronounced. The bear had some nicknames: the unmentionable, the thing, the great beast. But he was also very respected, it is said that when someone killed one by mistake he asked for forgiveness by lighting the calumet of peace, to appease his spirit. Even in our parts there are millenary traditions: in Putignano, in Puglia, on 2 February the feast of the bear is celebrated.

And in finance there is the "bear period" means that the stock market is down. It is probably said because the bear's paw goes from top to bottom (while the upward Exchange is said to be "of the bull", because the gilt goes from the bottom to the top).

Unfortunately, enemy bear traditions also survive. In Chinese medicine its bile is used as a "drug" and in numerous Chinese farms with an inhuman practice, the bile fluid is extracted from bears. The animal does not die immediately but lives in terrible conditions, often gets sick and dies after a long agony.

In some Eastern European countries, instead, bear cubs are blown up on a glowing plate to the sound of music. In this way they become "dancers" to exhibit for a fee. Fortunately the practice is illegal and there are centers, for example in Bulgaria, for the recovery of bears seized from the owners.

If today to have a house there is to fight (metaphorically) with the prices of the real estate market, console yourself, for our ancestors it was much more difficult. In fact, the prehistoric man had to fight against the bear to win a cave. And not just any bear, but the gigantic speleo bear (Ursus spelaeus). Big enough to make someone believe, during the first discoveries, to find themselves in front of the remains of a mythological monster, like the dragon.

These animals became extinct about 10 thousand years ago but some "portraits" have come down to us. One of the most faithful is this in the photo, made with red ocher (a natural pigment) on the walls of the Chauvet cave in France.

Find out more about the bear
Photo: © CEA

The salmon hunt must have made him so tired that this bear fell asleep from one minute to the other, with his head resting on his front legs and right on top of a small waterfall. Or perhaps it was boredom that plunged him into the arms of Morpheus: in fact, at the time of meals, the bears are quite active, and they concentrate snacks in the morning and evening to allow themselves a few hours of rest during the day. Between October and December the brown bears (Ursus arctos) enter a period of inactivity characterized by long sleeps, in which they allow their body temperature to go down to save energy (normal activities will resume in the spring). However, this is not a real hibernation and the specimens can be easily woken up even in these months.

Check out the incredible photos of a very hungry and climber bear

Many other curiosities about bears

It took all the photographer's cold blood to not leave the camera and run away. But in the end the courage of the reporter was rewarded with an unforgettable shot. The muzzle of this brown Kamchatka bear (Ursus arctos beringianus) is not perfectly centered because crushed against the lens of photographer Igor Gushchins who went to the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, in Russia, to document the behavior of bears during the spawning season salmon eggs. Just the presence of salmon gives these mammals the chance to have a diet rich in proteins, and the effects are seen: the Kamchatka bears reach remarkable tonnage, up to 2 meters and 75 centimeters in length.

The feats of a climber bear (watch)

Don't miss the gallery dedicated to bears

You might also be interested in: Named bear actually The little bear-nurse who rescues the soldiers What's to look at? We, the bears of the Berlin zoo Watermelon to the watermelon A mother of a brown bear (Ursus arctos) and her three cubs seem to observe the photographer's goal. Once grown, the young will reach the length of 2-3 meters and the weight of almost 800 kilograms. All thanks to an almost completely vegetarian diet. Brown bears, in fact, eat meat only in case of need. But they don't dislike fish: they are in fact excellent salmon "fishermen".
Their future is much brighter than their cousins ​​living in China and Vietnam. In these countries the brown bears are imprisoned in the so-called "bile farms" where they are kept in very narrow cages, with a straw inserted in the belly, which is used to extract the bile that is used to produce shampoo or to obtain "traditional" drugs that they should have miraculous properties.