Bears 101 | Nat Geo Wild

published on July 3, 2020

– [Narrator] In a sleepy
forest twigs snap underfoot

A wanderer stirs in the brush

moving closer and closer

With each step the forest awakens

and stands at attention for one
of nature's greatest beasts

There are eight species of bears

Bears are scattered over
four of the seven continents

Polar bears and brown bears
can be found in North America,

Europe and Asia

American black bears are
only found in North America,

while South America only
hosts the spectacled,

or Andean bears

And sloth, panda, sun, and
Asiatic, or moon bears,

are only found in Asia

Bears come in a wide range of sizes

The smallest bear is the sun bear

with males typical growing
up to five feet long

and weighing 150 pounds

The largest bear is the polar bear

Males can average up
to eight feet in length

and weigh up to 1,600 pounds,

over 10 times as much as the sun bear

Despite their size,
bears can move swiftly,

sprinting at speeds of
up to 40 miles per hour,

nearly twice the speed of the
fastest human ever recorded

Most bears are omnivorous

Outside of the largely
carnivorous polar bear,

most bear species tend to
have a vegetarian diet

The panda bear diet in
particular in 99% bamboo

Black and brown bear
diets are more varied,

from seeds and berries to
carrion, small mammals,

and salmon


many bears enjoy one of
natures sweetest treats, honey

They may even consume the bees

and the larvae within
the beehives they raid

Bears often give birth to twins

While bears may produce up
to five cubs in one litter,

they usually birth two cubs at a time

At birth bear cubs are little

Newborn pandas can weigh as
little as a fifth of a pound

And the mighty polar bear at birth

only weighs about a pound and a half

Most bear cubs remain
in their mother's care

for 18 to 24 months

During that time the
mother nurses her young

and then teaches the cubs
how to fend for themselves

The relationship between humans
and bears is complicated

For most of human history

bears had been respected and feared

Some cultures have even incorporated bears

into their belief systems

But during the Middle
Ages bears became a part

of street entertainment
in Europe and Asia,

and then eventually features
in shows and circuses

Today measures are
increasingly being taken

to prohibit the use of bears

and other wild animals for entertainment

One can't help but marvel at
the sight of the great bear

But as powerful as this beast can be

much is left to be done
to preserve its well being

in an ever changing world

(light piano music)

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