Why the Mexican gray bear became extinct - Causes

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The Mexican gray bear has several common names: silver bear, mexican grizzly bear and pissini, the latter is a name given by the indigenous Mexican Opatas, who considered the gray bear as a sacred species. Actually, all these vulgar names refer to the species Ursus arctos nelsoni, which for some time has been considered one of the extinct animals in Mexico. Yes, much to our regret, this species of bear is extinct and in fact has been extinct for more than five decades. Therefore, and so that it is not forgotten, we will dedicate this article by Ecologist Verde to talk about the Mexican gray bear. Here we will tell you why the Mexican gray bear became extinct, when it happened, its characteristics and everything you need to know about this peculiar species. We invite you to continue reading.

When the Mexican gray bear became extinct

Before explaining how the Mexican gray bear became extinct (Ursus arctos nelsoni), we will begin by locating ourselves temporarily. The Mexican gray bear is considered extinct since 1964. Some records show that by the beginning of the 60s, there were only 30 specimens left, therefore it was classified as in danger of extinction. During 1964 the last sighting of this species was recorded. Subsequently, extensive and repeated expeditions were carried out in search of this species, but all of them were without success. That is why the Mexican gray bear has been considered extinct since 1964.

It should be noted that from 1964 to the present, warnings of this extinct species have been reported by rangers or residents of the area. However, it is very possibly other bears from Mexico, such as the American black bear (Ursus americanus).

Causes of the extinction of the Mexican gray bear

In general, animal species become extinct due to a series of causes or threats that put their existence at risk. In contrast to this, and unlike other species of animals that became extinct, the Mexican gray bear became extinct for a single cause: the excessive persecution and hunting of their specimens by the human being. The truth is that since the Europeans arrived on Mexican soil, they began to persecute the gray bear for being considered a threat to both people and livestock. This led to its distribution becoming more and more limited. By the early 20th century only a few populations of this species existed and, as mentioned earlier, it was last sighted in 1964.

Image: Animalclic

What was the habitat of the Mexican gray bear like

The original distribution of the Mexican gis bear encompassed the north-central Mexico reaching some states in the southern United States. Particularly in Mexico, it inhabited so much grasslands What pine forests in height. As we mentioned in previous sections, at the beginning of the 20th century there were only a few populations that were isolated to the north of the State of Chihuahua, specifically in Cerro Santa Clara, Cerro Campana and Sierra del Nido.

What did the Mexican gray bear eat

The Mexican gray bear had a omnivorous diet based on fruits, plants, insects, small mammals and sometimes carrion. With respect to the insects on which it fed, it is believed that it had a greater preference for ants, like other brown bears. During the summer and fall, he consumed large amounts of food, most of which was transformed into stored fat, which allowed him to subsist during hibernation.

Here you can read about What animals are omnivores and What animals hibernate and why.

Other characteristics of the Mexican gray bear

The Mexican gray bear, whose scientific name is Ursus arctos nelsoni, is an extinct subspecies of brown bears (Ursus arctos), therefore it presents most of the features that characterize these bears, but also some peculiarities that make it unique. Next we will develop some of the characteristics of the Mexican gray bear.

  • Fur: the color of its fur was grayish or almost white, hence its name. In the oldest specimens the fur could turn towards a tonality close to brown and yellow tones.
  • Size: the Mexican gray bear was from smaller than other brown bears, such as the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). The Mexican gray bear could weigh more than 300 kg and measure more than 1.5 meters upright. In this way, it was one of the largest land animals in Mexico.
  • Behaviour: They lived in herds made up of an alpha male and other males and females who fulfilled different roles. Often the males would fight in order to show which was the dominant one. In general, it was a calm and harmless animal, except when it felt threatened.
  • Reproduction: the reproduction period of the Mexican gray bear was every three years and the females gave birth to a maximum of three cubs. The males mated with one or more females.

Now that you have learned about this extinct species, the Mexican gray bear, we encourage you to read this other article about Endangered Bears.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why the Mexican gray bear became extinct, we recommend that you enter our category of Animal Curiosities.

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