I dare say, bears are some of the most majestic animals out there, right among foxes, wolves, and unicorns. If lions are considered kings of the jungle, bears have to be kings of the forests.
But when they’re not busy looking for food or sleeping, they’re definitely dedicating some time to derp around, whether alone or with other fellow bears.
Bored Panda has rifled through the internet to find the most adorable, hilarious or just random pictures of bears taking a break from nature and doing whatever it is that they are doing in those pictures.
You’ll find them in the curated list below, and while you’re down there, why not vote and comment on the ones you enjoyed the most, read up on bears and check out our interview with North American Bear Center founder and principal biologist Dr. Lynn Rogers.
According to National Geographic, there are 8 species of bears, including brown, black, polar bears, and giant pandas. And contrary to popular belief, koalas are, in fact, not bears, but marsupials and hence they are not in this list, so, the more you know!
Anywho, depending on things like age, species and whatnot, bears can weigh anywhere between 60 and 1,000 pounds (27 to 450 kilograms), and can live up to 25 years in the wild, or 50 years in captivity.
Pop culture has made it look like bears love honey. Well, they do, but each species prefers its own diet. Besides, a polar bear, for instance, is probably not as likely to find honey as some other species of bears would, hence they prefer seals. Regardless, bears are considered omnivores and will eat practically anything that they can get their hands on.
Pop culture has also made it look like bears are vicious marauders that would kill for some human flesh—as seen on some magazine covers. But, contrary to popular belief, they don’t actually draw back their lips in anger like some other animals do.
The North American Bear Center explains that hunters, researchers, and rural homeowners who have actually met their fair share of bears say bears will more often than not run away and climb up a tree where it’s safe rather than show aggression, and if a bear is seriously uneasy with someone, they’ll actually make their muzzle long and narrow.
Of course, don’t assume a bear won’t attack. They can still do that if it feels like their food, cubs, or space are being threatened, or if a bear is very hungry, and you’re an easy solution to this need. So, caution is advised, but bears aren’t as dangerous as some might think.
“Education is important for any animal whose welfare depends on human attitudes. For me, when I finally began interpreting bear behavior in terms of their fear rather than my fear, I found I could build safe, trusting relationships with these intelligent, wild animals,” explained Dr. Lynn Rogers, the founder of the North American Bear Center and biologist who has spent over 50 years studying wildlife behavior and ecology, mostly focusing on bears.
“The biggest problems bears face are misconceptions about their danger. That is why my Black Bear Field Study Courses are so life-changing for people. They are immersed in wild bears during the 3-day course. They learn directly from the bears, and they become missionaries for bears. No ‘expert’ can tell them they are wrong—they personally saw what wild black bears are like.”
Despite looking all menacing, bears actually play a pretty essential role in our ecosystem, as explained Dr. Rogers:
“They disperse fruit seeds, benefiting many fruit-eaters. They are especially important in dispersing large seeds like wild plum pits that are too big for most birds to disperse.”
Just like honey bees, toiling away to make sure most of the vital plants are pollinated and continue to grow, bears play a similar role in that sense.
Unfortunately, like many other species of animals, bears are also in danger. The biggest threats here are loss of habitat (though logging, agriculture, and growing human populations), and some species, like the sun bear, also face poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
This is all besides climate change, which greatly affects polar bears. It is said that there are around 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears left on the planet, making them a vulnerable species.
Finally, we’re asked Dr. Rogers about one thing he wishes more people knew about bears. He had this to say:
“I wish more people could personally experience wild bears, as people do in my Black Bear Field Study Courses, and learn to coexist with them. I have accompanied wild black bears, including mothers with cubs, day and night for 24-hour periods for decades, as have my assistants, without serious injury. I have captured screaming cubs in front of their mothers and have never been attacked. There is so much to say on this.”
You can learn more about bears and how you can help them by checking out the website of the North American Bear Center as well as the Wildlife Research Institute Ely Minnesota.
But before you go, have some stories about bears? Why not share them with us in the comment section below!