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Glacier bear picture and information (Ursus emmonsi)


Glacier bear picture and information (Ursus emmonsi)When first discovered the glacier bear was supposed to be a distinct and well-marked species. Recently cubs representing the glacier bear and the typical black bear have been found in the same litter, thus proving it to be merely a color phase of the black hear. Its color varies exceedingly, from a light smoky, almost bluish, gray to a dark iron gray, becoming almost black.

Some individuals are extraordinary appearing beasts, quite unlike any other bear. The interest in this curious color development is increased by its restricted distribution. The glacier bear is an Alaskan animal, which occupies the seaward front of the Mount St. Elias Range, about Yakutat Bay, and thence southeast to Glacier Bay and a short distance beyond toward the interior.

The popular name of this bear was well chosen, as its home is in the midst of innumerable stupendous glaciers. Here, where the contours of gigantic mountain ranges are being steadily remade by glaciers, Nature appears to have begun the evolution of a new kind of bear. That the task is in progress is evidenced by the excessive variation in color, scarcely two individuals being the same.

The food of this bear consists largely of mice, ground squirrels, and marmots, which it digs from their burrows on the high mountain slopes. Its food is varied by salmon during the spawning season and by various herbs and berries during the summer.

The winters in the home of the glacier bear are less severe than across the range in the interior, but are so long and stormy that the bear must spend more than six months each year in hibernation.

Owing to the remote and little-frequented region occupied by this bear, little is known of its life history. For this reason it is important that a11 sportsmen visiting its country bring back careful and detailed records of their observations. Up to the present time so few white men have killed glacier bears that a skin of one taken by fair stalking is a highly prized trophy. As the glacier bear country becomes more accessible, more stringent protection will be needed to prevent the extermination of these unique animals.