Brown bear

(Ursus arctos)
The Brown bear is found in North America, Palearctic Asia, Northern and Eastern Europe, the Carpathians.

Distribution of the species

The Brown bear is found in North America, Palearctic Asia, Northern and Eastern Europe, the Carpatians. The Balkan peninsula and several regions in Spain and Italy are inhabited by a genetically differentiated, relic, Pleistocene population.
Util the end of the 19th century in Bulgaria the Brown bear inhabits all mountains and the Ludogorie region. After the 1930s it was preserved only in the Central Balkan range and the Rila-Rhodope massif.

Description of the species (biological and ecological features)

The main habitats of the Brown Bear are coniferous and deciduous forests usually over 600 –1 000 m a.s.l., sub-alpine shrubs, rock massifs and gorges. The conditions are suitable due to the rich food base, the preserved habitats and the distance from the humans. Bears follow a certain annual cycle related to the seasons, habitat and food base. They hibernate 3 to 4 months a year, but never fall under deep sleep. The brown bear emerges from its winter den most often in March or April. In May and June is the mating season. The females reach sexual maturity at the age of 3-4 years, the males at the age of 5-6 years. After the mating season, the bears are feeding hard to accumulate fat for the winter months. The female gives birth once every 2-3 years, mainly in caves, often near the upper border of the forest. The young ones, are usually born in January-February, blind and helpless and weigh only 300-500 gr. They follow their mother for 2 years. During this period, the female does not mate. If this happens, the young leave their mother earlier so as not to be injured or killed by the male.
In Bulgaria only pregnant females have an obligatory lethargy. The region of the territorial bears is usually between 1 500 and 5 000 ha.

Conservation status


Conservation state

The Brown Bear is a protected species included in Annexes 2 and 3 of the Biodiversity Act (BDA) and Annex II of the Bern Convention. The species is also included in Annex II of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and in Annex II and Annex IV of Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive).
The Brown Bear is part of the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (2015) with category “Endangered” (EN).
The species is included in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species with category Least Concern (LC).

*Note: For the description of vertebrates is used information from: Golemanski, V. & al. (eds). 2015. Red Data Book of the Republic of Bulgaria. Vol. 2. Animals. BAS & MoEW, Sofia [English ed.: ISBN 978-954-9746-22-8 (IBER – BAS), 978-954-8497-18-3 (MoEW)]; the website of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).