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Aren't bears awesome? Most of them are big, strong, and fast. And bear moms will fight hard to protect their young. But these days, bears are in all kinds of trouble (see the list below). That's why many people are working so hard to help them.

The other side of this poster shows all of the species (kinds) of bears in the world. And on this side you can read some cool facts about each one.

Match each bear's numbers to the list below to find out the main reasons that kind of bear is in trouble.

1 People have taken over too much of its land.

2 People kill this bear for its meat or skin.

3 Its body parts are used for making folk medicine.

4 People catch it and keep it as a pet or a circus performer.

5 People kill this bear because they think it kills too many farm animals or eats farm crops.


1, 3, 5

* Brown bears (in some places called grizzly or Kodiak bears) are usually brown. But they can be many colors from creamy white to almost black. And some have frosty-looking fur. You can tell a brown bear by the hump on its shoulders and the shape of its snout.

* For much of the year, brown bears are out of sight. They take a long winter snooze--some hibernate for six months or more.

* In North America, brown bears live mostly in Alaska and the western part of Canada. They are rare south of Canada, except in or near Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks in Montana and Wyoming. But they used to live in most of the western half of the United States and even in parts of Mexico.

* Brown bears are slowly making a comeback, but they still need a lot of help.


3, 5

* Black bears can be black, brown, tan, gold, or even white. These are the bears you are most likely to see in North America.

* Many of these bears live near humans. Some have learned that, when people are around, there is usually garbage and other food to eat. But it's better for the bears and for people if the bears eat only wild foods.

* A male black bear can weigh more than 600 pounds (280 kg). Female black bears are usually half the size of the males.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* This bear is a lot like the American black bear. But it is often called a moon bear. Can you see why? (The patch of white fur on its chest is shaped like a crescent moon.)

* Like most other kinds of bears, young moon bears are good at learning tricks such as riding bicycles. That's why some people take them from the wild and train them to perform for circuses.

* Just like their American cousins, these bears usually live in forests, and they're great tree climbers.


1, 3, 4, 5

* You can tell a spectacled bear by the white marks around its eyes. Sometimes the marks make the bear look as if it's wearing spectacles (eyeglasses).

* These are the only bears that live in South America. They live in rainforests, high mountain meadows, and dry shrublands.

* Spectacled bears like to eat fruit. But they also eat tough foods such as cactuses and woody plants.


* Polar bears live farther north than any other bears. They are perfect ice bears. They have thick layers of fat that keep them from getting cold in their Arctic home. And their extra-wide feet keep them from sinking into the deep snow.

* These are the only bears that eat mostly meat. Some scientists think that the bears can smell seals--their favorite food--a half mile away.

* A polar bear's white fur makes it hard to see as it moves across the ice and snow. That helps it sneak up on seals resting on the ice.

It also hunts for seals that are under the ice. How does it find them? It waits at holes where seals come up for air.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* Sun bears live in Southeast Asia. They get their name from the yellow marks on their chests. Their short fur is perfect for hot weather.

* They are the smallest kind of bear. Adults are about the size of big dogs, so some people sometimes call them dog bears.

* Like many bears, sun bears love honey. They are very good at climbing trees to get to beehives. And they often sleep in tree nests.

* Young sun bears are small and cute--that's why people like to keep them as pets. But when they grow up, they often scratch and bite people. Then their owners may end up selling them to restaurants for meat.


1, 3

* Now here's a strange bear! The scientist who named it thought it was a kind of sloth. He thought that the bear used its claws to hang upside down from tree branches.

But the scientist was wrong. A sloth bear doesn't hang from branches, and it is very lively--nothing like a slow-moving sloth.

* Sloth bears have long lips, and they have a gap between their front teeth. They use their lips to suck termites into their mouths through the gap. They also climb trees to snatch honey from beehives.

* These bears could win the "shaggy" prize for their long, messy hair. A sloth bear cub hangs on to the long fur on its mother's back as she walks around the forest.


1, 2

* Pandas may be everyone's favorite bear because they look so cuddly.

* They live in bamboo forests in China. But almost all of the forests where they used to live were cut down long ago. Now they are one of the most endangered animals in the world. There are only about 1,000 wild pandas left alive.

* Panda babies are tiny. (They're smaller than a stick of butter.) But they have huge voices--they can really yelp!

* Scientists are breeding more giant pandas. They hope that someday they will be able to set the new pandas free in the bamboo forests of China. The people in China are also working hard to save more bamboo forests and to plant them again in places where they used to grow. And the best part is, when habitat is saved for pandas and other bears, many other animals are able to live there too.

Copyright 2001 by Ranger Rick TM

a National Wildlife Federation magazine

Sloth Bear

Brown Bear

Spectacled Bear

Polar Bear

Asiatic Black Bear

Giant Panda

Sun Bear
COPYRIGHT 2001 National Wildlife Federation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Ranger Rick
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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