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Kadyaka Alaska Brown Bear and Kamchatka Brown Bear are the two largest brown bear species. This is mainly due to their protein-rich diets of salmon caviar and other fresh fish.
The Brown Bear is one of the largest living carnivores. Male brown bears can grow to a maximum of 350 kg and female bears to 200 kg. The pregnancy period is 180-266 days, usually from January to March, while the bear is still in hibernation. She generally gives birth to two or three offspring and reproduces again 2-4 years later.
Young bears born are vulnerable: blind and naked, weighing only 340-680 grams. In the wilderness, the brown bear can reach the age of 20 to 30 years.
Bears wake up in the summer and after a long hibernation they have two goals: to eat and find a partner. They try to put on weight to make up their reserves to survive the winter. Salmon is the preferred food because it offers about ten times more calories than berries.
In Kamchatka, these magnificent creatures are under great threat. The main threats are poaching, loss of habitat and hunting grounds. The challenge for Kamchatka is to preserve the brown bears in this time of political, economic, and social change.
Brown bear hunting is permitted under a quota system, which is unfortunately poorly monitored. Ongoing trophy hunting is spreading to the large dominant male bears, which is changing the social dynamics of the bear population.
Estimates of the number of brown bears exterminated by poaching in the Kamchatka region range from 500-1500 annually. Since 1991, the demand for brown bears has increased dramatically. Trade with Japan, China and Southeast Asia is increasing, where bears are in demand. Bears’ heavy dependence on salmon links their fate to fish, but there are many threats to Kamchatka’s salmon. The unbridled interference of poachers and the increase in commercial fishing also significantly reduce the supply of a major source of food for brown bears. Local caretakers are underpaid and ill-equipped to fight the multi-million dollar bear and poacher hunt. Resources are not easily available to encourage the conservation and protection of protected areas. In this unique water-terrestrial dependency, the bears of Kamchatka can be endangered.