The different kinds of bear
In North America there are a number of different kinds of bear. The commonest bear is the black bear. The large bear of the western United States is the grizzly bear.
They are found now mostly in the national parks, where they are protected. One of the spectacles that thrills the tourists in Yellowstone National Park is to watch the grizzly bears being fed, early on a summer evening. The largest bear of all lives in Alaska. This huge brown bear is known as the Kodiak bear. It is the largest living flesheating animal. These bears sometimes weigh as much as 1,500 pounds. The polar bear lives in the far north. It has white fur. This makes it almost invisible against the snow and ice of the Arctic regions, and helps it to sneak up on its prey. The polar bear is a good swimmer and it catches most of its food in the water. It eats fish, seals, and other arctic animals. Polar bears do not hibernate.
They remain active during the entire year. The mother bear burrows in the ice or in snow drifts when the cubs are born. It takes several months before the cubs are able to get around and take care of themselves. The polar bear can walk on the. ice because the soles of its feet are covered with long hairs. This keeps them warm and prevents them from slipping. In Europe the brown bear used to be very common, but now it is almost extinct. A few are still found in some of the heavily-forested parts of the continent. Large numbers of these bears still live in Russia and in northern Asia. They are closely related to our grizzly bears. The only bear found in South America is the "spectacled bear," which lives in the Andes Mountains.
In Africa there is one kind of bear. It lives in the north, in the Atlas Mountains. Very few of these Atlas bears have been found in recent years and it is feared that they will soon become extinct. In the highest parts of the Himalaya Mountains, in Tibet, lives the Tibetan black bear. Few people have ever seen this animal. Bears have played a large role in folklore and mythology. In ancient times the Great Bear and the Little Bear were supposed to roam the skies. Two groups of stars have taken their names from this. The star group called the Great Bear is known to most people as the Big Dipper. The two lower stars of the bowl of this dipper point to the North Star. The North Star is the brightest star in the group of the Little Bear.
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