Grizzly Bear

Grizzly bear.

Name

  • Common name: Grizzly Bear
  • Scientific name: Ursus arctos
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Ursidae

Also known as

Brown Bear, Aklaq

Viewing opportunities

  • The Dempster Highway, the Atlin Road, the Haines Road, or the Alaska Highway near Kluane Lake are the most likely places for roadside viewing of Grizzly Bears.
  • River travelers in the early spring and late fall have the highest chances of seeing a Grizzly Bear.
  • Hiking in the alpine habitat where the vegetation is sparse and long distance views are common, allows you to see Grizzly Bears from a safe distance. Kluane National Park and Ni’iinlii Njik Territorial Park are good areas for bear viewing.
  • Conduct viewing responsibly and respectfully.

Description

  • Generally brown coloured fur but can range from near black to silver-blonde.
  • Lighter tips of the long guard hairs gives the bear a “grizzled” appearance.
  • Side profile of the face has an upturned nose or “disk” shape.
  • Characteristic hump on the shoulders.

Fast Facts

  • Length: 1 to 2.8 m
  • Weight: 92 to 389 kg with males ranging 55 to 207 kg
  • Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
  • Predators: Humans
  • Habitat: Boreal Forest, Mountain Alpine, Arctic Tundra,

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S3 (Vulnerable)
  • Global: G4 (Apparently Secure)

Yukon population estimate

6,000 to 7,000.

Behaviour

The life of a Grizzly Bear revolves around an intensive search for the most nutrient-rich foods it can find. It will spend winter in a den before emerging in spring to search for food. Yukon Grizzly Bears have a very low rate of reproduction. They breed for the first time around their 8th year and reproduce every 3 to 4 years.

Food

Roots, berries, grasses, sedges, horsetails, moose, caribou and small mammals.

Distribution

Grizzly Bear distribution map.

Sights and sounds

Grizzly bear track, front.
Grizzly bear track, front: 12.4 x 13.9 cm.
Grizzly Bear track, hind.
Grizzly Bear track, hind: 21.6 x 13.2 cm.

Grizzly bear tracks.
Tracks in the mud.

Grizzly Bear scat.
Grizzly Bear pile: 15.5 x 3.8 cm.

Bears and people

  • Grizzly Bears were an important part of the culture of Yukon Indigenous peoples prior to European contact. Many hunted them, used their claws and skins in ceremony and wove the Grizzly Bear into their dances, myths and legends.
  • Bears are a major consideration for all Yukoners when going outdoors, staying at a cabin, or camping for the weekend. Bear spray should be carried even close to the city, as bears are found in a variety of habitats.
  • All garbage and food waste should be kept in a secure shed or bears will be attracted by the possibility of a free meal.

Management plan

The Government of Yukon is currently developing a species management plan for Grizzly Bears.