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Alaska Brown Bear

Ursus arctos

Although brown bears don’t mingle much, these two have gathered at a stream near Canoe Bay, Alaska, lured by the first fish of the salmon run. The millions of salmon that swim upstream each summer are a huge boon for bears, helping them regain body mass after winter hibernation.

Thanks to nutrient-rich salmon, brown bears on the Alaska Peninsula coast and islands are the largest terrestrial carnivores today. Brown bears that live inland (such as the grizzly bears in the diorama across from this one) eat mainly plants—and can be half the size.

Diorama site: Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge

Range: Brown bears live in the northern reaches of North America, Europe, and Asia, but only those near the Gulf of Alaska grow to such huge proportions. 

Did You Know?

Polar bears evolved from brown bears. The two species are so closely related that they can interbreed when climate change permits their ranges to overlap—as is happening today.

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