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The Kodiak bear' (Ursus arctos middendorffi), also known as the Kodiak brown bear or the Alaskan grizzly 'bear or American brown bear,[1] occupies the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago in South-Western Alaska.

Kodiak Bear
250px-Kodiak Bear at Dog Salmon Creek, USFWS 11389

Origin

Alaska

Habitat

Forest

Diet

Fish, Large Game, berries etc.

Combat Status

Victorious over the Polar Bear. Will fight theKomodo Dragon

Its name in the Alutiiq language is Taquka-aq.[2] It is the largest subspecies of brown bear.


DescriptionEdit

TaxonomyEdit

Taxonomist C.H. Merriam was the first to recognize Kodiak bears as unique and he named the species "Ursus middendorffi" in honor of the celebrated Russian naturalist Dr. A. Th. von Middendorff.[4] Subsequent taxonomic revisions merged most North American brown bears into a single subspecies (Ursus arctos horribilis), but Kodiak bears are still considered to be a unique subspecies (Ursus arctos middendorffi). Recent investigations of genetic samples from bears on Kodiak have shown that they are closely related to brown bears on the Alaska Peninsula and Kamchatka, Russia. It appears that Kodiak bears have been genetically isolated since at least the last ice age (10,000 to 12,000 years ago) and there is very little genetic diversity within the population.[5] Although the current population is healthy and productive, and has shown no overt adverse signs of inbreeding, it may be more susceptible to new diseases or parasites than other more diverse brown bear populations

ColorEdit

Hair colors range from blond to orange (typically females or bears from southern parts of the archipelago) to dark brown. Cubs often retain a white “natal ring” around their neck for the first couple years of life. The Kodiak's color is similar to that of their very close relative, the Grizzly bear.

SizeEdit

Few Kodiak bears have been weighed in the wild, so some of the weights are estimates. Size range for females is from 225 kg (500 lbs) to 315 kg (700 lbs) and for males 360 kg (800 lbs) to 635 kg (1400 lbs).[6] Mature males average 480–533 kg (1,058–1,175 lb) over the course of the year,[7] and can weigh up to 680 kg (1500 lbs) at peak times.[2] Females are typically about 20% smaller and 30% lighter than males[2] and adult sizes are attained when bears are 6 years old. Bears weigh the least when they emerge from their dens in the spring, and can increase their weight by 20–30%[6] during late summer and fall. Bears in captivity can sometimes attain weights considerably greater than those of wild bears.

An adult male Kodiak bear stands up to 1.5 m (5 ft) tall at the shoulder when it is standing on all four legs. When standing fully upright on its hind legs, a large male could reach a height of 3 m (10 ft).[2] The largest Kodiak bear on record grew in captivity and died in the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in December 1955, weighing 757 kg (1670 lb).[8]

They are the largest brown bear subspecies, and are comparable in size to polar bears. That makes Kodiak bears and polar bears both the two largest members of the bear family and the two largest extant terrestrial carnivores.[3]

The standard method of evaluating the size of bears is by measuring their skulls. Most North American hunting organizations and management agencies use calipers to measure the length of the skull (back of sagittal crest on the back of the skull to the front tooth) and the width (maximum width between the zygomatic arches — “cheek bones”). The total skull size is the sum of these two measurements. The largest bear ever killed in North America was from Kodiak Island with a total skull size of 78.1 cm (30.75 in), and 8 of the top 10 brown bears listed in the Boone and Crockett record book are from Kodiak.[9] The average skull size of Kodiak bears that were killed by hunters in the first five years of the 21st century was 63.8 cm (25.1 in) for boars and 55.4 cm (21.8 in) for sows.[10]

Distribution and densityEdit

Although the term “Kodiak bear” is widely used to include all coastal Alaska brown bears, the subspecies only occurs on the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago (Kodiak, Afognak, Shuyak, Raspberry, Uganik, Sitkalidak, and adjacent islands). The Kodiak bear population was estimated to include 3,526 bears in 2005, yielding an estimated archipelago-wide population density of 0.7 bears/square mile (271.2 bears/1000 km²). During the past decade the population has been slowly increasing

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