Photo Ark: Grizzly Bear

Photo Ark: Grizzly Bear

Bear Necessities: What Will it Take for America's Grizzly Bears to Recover?


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Biology, Conservation, Geography

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Photo Ark

The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), a North American marvel, is known for its big shoulder hump and fearsome claws. Roaming from Alaska down to Wyoming, these omnivores keep the ecosystem in balance by spreading seeds and regulating the food chain. A cool fact: The grizzly’s amazing sense of smell can detect food from miles away! Grizzlies are a keystone species, which means their presence signals a healthy ecosystem. Their absence leads to unbalanced populations of herbivores, which results in overgrazing and environmental damage.

Despite their might, grizzlies face dire threats. Once roaming the continent, they now live in only about 2 percent of their original range within the lower 48 states. Within this range, grizzly bears are found in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming in the U.S.A. Threats to grizzlies are overhunting and the loss of habitat to human activities. Since grizzlies were listed as endangered in 1975, their numbers have grown from fewer than 800 to nearly 2,000 bears in the lower 48 states (as of 2023). This success story will continue if people work to prevent conflicts with grizzly bears and protect their habitats.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Corinne Rucker, National Geographic Society
Sara Nachtigal, Ph.D., Educurious
Hanna Jaramillo, M.S. Ed., Educurious
Latia White, Ed.D., Inclusive Innovation Researcher, Global Inclusive Learning Design Reviewer
Rights Clearance
Jean Cantu, National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Patrick Cavanagh, National Geographic Society
Clint Parks
Last Updated

March 28, 2024

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