Brown or Grizzly bear

(Ursus arctos)


Brown or Grizzly bear IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

Weight and size depend on the subspecies: the smallest brown bears are found in Middle Europe (Alps). Brown bears form Scandinavia, Western Europe and Russland are bigger in size and could weight up to 250 kg. Kodiak bears (Alaska) are the largest brown bears in the world and, after the Polar bear, also the largest living land carnivores. A adult Kodiak male can weight up to 600 kg. On average, adult males are 10% to 20% larger than females.


Like most bears they are omnivore which means that they eat both vegetable and animal matter (grasses, sedges, bulbs, roots, berries, fungi, insects, rodents, mamals, fish and carrion).


Except for females with offspring and breeding animals, bears are typically solitary creatures and avoid the company of other bears.


In the winter when food is unavailable or scarce, Brown bears enter dens and sleep through the severe part of this season, subsisting on fat stored in the body. They do not hibernate in the true sense of the word. In areas with relatively warmer winters the bears may stay active all winter.

Did you know?
that although a standing brown bear is commonly perceived to be a threatening pose, bears stand when they are simply curious or surveying their surroundings? Otherwise they generally remain on all fours.


Name (Scientific) Ursus arctos
Name (English) Brown or Grizzly bear
Name (French) Ours brun ou Grizzly
Name (German) Braunbär, Grizzlybär
Name (Spanish) Oso pardo
Local names Estonian: Pruunkaru
Finnish: Karhu
Italian: Orso bruno
Romansh: Urs
Swedish: Brunbjörn
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Valerie Abbott



Range North America, Europe, Asia
Habitat Brown bears are found in a variety of habitats, but they prefer dense forest areas, alpine tundra regions and river valleys.
Wild population 200.000 animals (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 408 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Brown or Grizzly bear


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 72 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka

Why do zoos keep this animal

The brown bear is not threatened as a species but several subspecies or populations are. Zoos in Europe and North America therefore maintain viable ex situ populations under a species management programme / regional studbook respectively.


In both Europe and North America the brown bear is, however, primarily shown as an important element of the native fauna and because of its cultural relevance for the peoples within its range.


All large bears are very popular with the public and of major educational interest.


Zoos within the species' range may also keep brown bears for animal welfare reasons as they may take care of injured or orphaned individuals, or individuals rescued from roadside zoos, circuses, or kept by showmen as dancing bears.