12 Most Endangered Bear Species in the World (with Photos)

They are not the teddy bears you played with as a child.

Most of us only see them in zoos, and these largest bear species in the world are definitely worth a visit.

You probably won’t find all bears in all zoos; your best chance of seeing some bears may be in their home range.

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The homeland of the sun bear is the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.

In Malaysia, it is known as the Malayan honey bear because of its fondness for the sweet sticky substance.

The sun bear is the smallest bear, weighing about 176 pounds and standing about five feet tall.

They have short black fur with a light-colored beak, a white area above the eyes.

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The giant panda is the epitome of cute and cuddly.

A roly-poly with a white face and body surrounded by black fur around the neck, legs and ears.

Unlike other bears, the panda is mostly vegetarian, with bamboo making up 99% of its diet.

The panda is native to the mountains of south-central China, particularly in the Sichuan province.

These bears have a girth of up to six feet in diameter and weigh up to 250 pounds.

The home of the sloth bear, which evolved from the brown bear during the Pleistocene, is the Indian subcontinent.

It is a nocturnal insect-eating bear, the lower lip of which is designed to suck insects.

The sloth bear is slimmer than the Asiatic black bear, with longer fur, paler beaks, a white muzzle, and white claws.

They can weigh up to 290 pounds and stand up to 6 feet tall.

They are known to attack humans who invade their territory.

9. Asian black bear

Asian black bears are not very fond of humans, understandably so, as humans hunt them for body parts and traditional medicine.

They are found in the mountainous regions of Asia, from Taiwan and northeastern China to northern India and the Far East of Russia.

The Asiatic black bear is also known as the moon bear or white-breasted bear because of the V or crescent-shaped white fur on its chest.

They resemble prehistoric bears of medium height (average 6 feet and 300 pounds).

8. Bear with glasses

The Spectacled Bear got its name because the rings around its eyes make it look like it is wearing glasses.

A medium-sized bear, the spectacled bear is the only bear native to South America.

Although considered a carnivore, meat makes up only 5 percent of the spectacled bear’s diet.

Its fur is usually black, but can also be shades of brown or reddish.

It can be found in the cloud forests of the Andes, mainly in the northern and western regions of South America.

7. American black bear

The American black bear is the smallest bear species in North America, but is often found anywhere from Alaska to Florida and from California to the Maritime provinces of Canada.

They prefer forest habitats and sometimes attach themselves to human communities because food is easy – they scavenge garbage.

The American black bear evolved from the sun bear thousands of years ago.

6. Eurasian brown bear

The Eurasian brown bear, also known as the European brown bear, can be found in the mountainous regions of northern Europe, but as far south as the Pyrenees.

The largest population can be found in the forests of Siberia.

The bear sports long hair in various shades of brown.

The grizzly bear’s Latin name, Ursus horriblis, means “terrible bear.” The grizzly is also known as the silver-tipped bear because of its gray hair, and sometimes the North American brown bear because it is the same species.

Whatever you call it, it’s brutal and huge—males weigh nearly 800 pounds and stand over 6 feet tall.

Grizzlies range in color from tan to almost black, but are usually brown.

4. Ussuri brown bear

nAok0 / Flickr

The Ussuri brown bear is one of the largest brown bears and is sometimes known as the black grizzly.

Their population is dwindling in northeastern China, where they are hunted for their body parts, but they are a national monument in North Korea.

They have been known to attack and even kill humans, and they themselves occasionally become dinner for Siberian tigers.

3. Kamchatka brown bear

The Kamchatka brown bear, the largest bear in Eurasia, is found mainly in Russia’s Kamchatka region and surrounding islands, as well as on Alaska’s St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. This is one big bear, sometimes reaching 9 feet tall and weighing almost 1,500 pounds.

It is believed to be the ancestor of the Kodiak bear.

They rarely attack people, but are a trophy bear for Russian hunters.

2. Kodiak bear

The Kodiak bear, the world’s largest brown bear, is native to Alaska’s Kodiak Islands.

Big doesn’t begin to describe its size: 1,500 pounds and nearly 10 feet tall when standing, even though some eat the same food as other brown bears.

They are usually brown, but can be golden; young bears have a white ring on their necks for several years.

1. polar bear

Along with the Kodiak bear, the polar bear is the largest bear species in the world.

It is the same size as the Kodiak bear, only white instead of brown.

They are considered a vulnerable species because climate change is melting their habitat.

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