The brown bear or Ursus arctos It is the largest land mammal on the European continent. However, at present, it is among the most threatened species on the planet despite the fact that it is an animal that has numerous population centers. If you want to know why the brown bear is in danger of extinction and what measures should be implemented urgently to prevent its total disappearance, read Ecologist Verde and we will tell you.
One of the problems that the brown bear has presented in recent decades is that it has a presence in Europe, Asia and North America. This, a priori, may make us think that it is a species that enjoys a good situation in the face of the possibility of its extinction, since its presence in the wild extends up to three different continents. However, the problem that must be taken into account is that, despite occupying large areas, the number of specimens in each of them is, on many occasions, less than 50 mature specimens (that is, of reproductive age) . Which foresees a complicated situation as far as its survival is concerned.
In the case of Iberian Peninsula, today there are two population nuclei of brown bears which also represent almost the only ones located in the westernmost Europe, which are the Cantabrian Mountains and the Pyrenees. In addition to these two nuclei, in Europe we can also find brown bears in the region of the Balkan Peninsula and in part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as in part of the Baltic States and Russia. However, with the exception of Russia, where population areas are more extensive, the rest of European regions are completely isolated from each other, which does not allow the different populations of brown bears to be related to each other, greatly limiting the possibility for populations to prosper.
First, the already mentioned isolated and disconnected populations make genetic exchange difficult and severely limit the possibility of reproductive success. Despite this, the threats facing this large mammal are many more, and go beyond a problem merely related to the geographic distribution of populations. These are the main causes of the danger of extinction of the brown bear:
Keep in mind that the gestation period of bears lasts twelve months. From him, between one and three young will be born, which will remain with the mother for about a year and a half. In this way, the interval between calving would be, in the best conditions, every two years, which makes the reproduction of the brown bear slow, so that populations cannot grow rapidly in short periods of time.
In addition to its slow reproductive process, another of the difficulties for the survival of the brown bear is the destruction of its natural habitat as a result of human activity, for example the indiscriminate felling of forests. The brown bear lives mainly in forests, areas that are increasingly difficult to find due to deforestation and building resulting from human activity. In fact, more and more cases are occurring in which bears descend from the mountains, where forested areas are still more abundant, to rural areas in search of food that they cannot find in nature.
Another problem that occurs in some areas where the areas of presence of brown bears are more extensive than in Europe are the infrastructures that limit their ability to move. In this sense, a road or a motorway can become a real impediment for the populations of brown bears to become related to each other. However, this problem can be solved with some ease, since it is enough with the construction of steps for large animals, something that is already being done in countries like Canada.
Although it is true that it is becoming a lesser problem due to the laws that prohibit its practice in many countries and territories, the reality is that, even today, we can find different areas of the planet where hunting constitutes a real threat to animals. brown bear populations.
Learn more about the brown bear in this other Green Ecologist article about 21 endangered animals in Spain.
Currently, the most effective way to protect this animal is in the hands of governments and public administrations, as well as in their ability to delimit protected areas where the habitat of the brown bear is preserved. In addition, it is also important to allocate economic resources that allow effective monitoring of the remaining brown bear populations, as well as taking the appropriate measures to ensure their reproductive success, such as building animal steps or the introduction of new specimens in the most deteriorated populations.
An example that has been carried out in this line of support for brown bear populations We found it in the town of the Pyrenees, where, in 2016, a new specimen of male brown bear was released from Slovenia. This bear, baptized as Goiat, involved the introduction of new genetic material to a particularly damaged brown bear population, where it is estimated that only about 20 mature-aged individuals with reproductive capacity remain, so the introduction of Goiat represented a new hope for this highly threatened brown bear population.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why the brown bear is in danger of extinctionWe recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals.