Types of bears in the Yukon

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos)

The grizzly bear is one of the most powerful animals in North America, but it should be feared no more than any other type of bear. Like all bears, it should be treated with respect.
• An estimated 6,300 grizzlies inhabit the Yukon from the B.C. border to the Arctic coast.
• Ninety per cent of the grizzly’s diet is made up of vegetation such as roots, grasses and berries. It also eats small rodents, salmon, moose and caribou when available.
• The average adult male weighs about 175 kg when it emerges from its den in the spring; the average female weighs about 100 kg. Yukon grizzlies are about two-thirds the size of grizzlies in more productive southern or coastal regions.

• The grizzly reaches its adult size of about one metre at the shoulder in 7 to 10 years.
• It has a lifespan of about 20 years.
• The grizzly bear’s fur ranges in colour from dark brown to almost blonde. The longer hairs are often yellow-tipped, giving the bear its “grizzled” appearance. Some bears have dark brown fur on their back and blond fur on their legs.
• Distinguishing characteristics of the grizzly include a concave face, a prominent hump over the shoulders and long claws about the length of a human’s fingers. The claws are better suited to digging rather than tree climbing.
• The grizzly can move at speeds of up to 60 km/h over short distances. Like all bears, it is a good swimmer.
• The female produces its first litter at 6 to 10 years of age and every 3 to 5 years afterwards. A litter usually consists of two cubs. The reproductive rate of this species is so low that the loss of even a few bears can have a major impact on the population.