Name: Estonian Fauna – Brown Bear
Date of Issue: 10 September 2009
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) has lived in Estonia since very old times, the late Ice Age. As a result people came into contact with it as soon as they settled in the area and the animal has acquired an important cultural role in the Estonian folk tradition. The range of the brown bear covers the whole Eurasian continent from forest-tundra to the Mediterranean and the Himalayas in the south and in North America from the northern point of the continent to Mexico. But because of intensive human activity it has been crowded out from much of its former range and lives only in patches. The brown bear is an omnivore who also feeds on vegetable matter, such as roots, berries and mushrooms, which is often its main diet. But it can easily kill a deer or other prey. Brown bears also feed on carrion and visit waste dumps. To adapt to a period of poor food supply the brown bear dens for periods of varied lengths depending on their range. During her hibernation the female bears one to three, rarely as many as five, cubs of 300-500 grams, which grow on mother's milk enough to be able to wander around in search of food with the mother. About 5 percent of the population is hunted every year in Estonia to keep the bear population in check in order to maintain the ecological balance and prevent potential damage to apiaries.
Monday, October 26, 2009