Ussuri brown bear

Ussuri brown bear

Ussuri brown bear, Ezo brown bear, Black grizzly bear


4 languages
Ursus arctos lasiotus

The Ussuri brown bear (Ursus arctos lasiotus ), also known as the Ezo brown bear or the black grizzly bear, is a subspecies of the brown bear or a population of the Eurasian brown bear (U. a. arctos ). One of the largest brown bears, a very large Ussuri brown bear may approach the Kodiak bear in size. It is not the same subspecies as the grizzly bear.

Cultural associations

The Ainu people worship the Ussuri brown bear, eating its flesh and drinking its blood as part of a religious festival known as Iomante.


It is very similar to the Kamchatka brown bear, though it has a more-elongated skull, a less-elevated forehead, somewhat-longer nasal bones and less-separated zygomatic arches, and is somewhat darker in color, with some individuals being completely black, which once led to the now-refuted speculation that black individuals were hybrids of brown bears and Asian black bears. Adult males have skulls measuring on average 38.7 cm (15.2 in) long and 23.5 cm (9.3 in) wide. They can occasionally reach greater sizes than their Kamchatkan counterparts; the largest skull measured by Sergej Ognew (1931) was only slightly smaller than that of the largest Kodiak bear (the largest subspecies of brown bears) on record at the time.



The Ussuri brown bear is found in the Ussuri Krai, Sakhalin, the Amur Oblast, the Shantar Islands, Iturup Island, and Kunashir Island in Siberia, northeastern China, the Korean Peninsula, and Hokkaidō in Japan. Until the 13th century, bears inhabited the islands of Rebun and Rishiri, having crossed the La Pérouse Strait to reach them. They were also present on Honshu during the last glacial period, but were possibly driven to extinction either by competing with Asian black bears or by habitat loss due to climate change. There have been several hypotheses regarding the crossing of Blakiston's Line by brown bears; there could be three genetic groups, distinct for at least 3 million years which reached to Hokkaido via Honshu at different times, or brown bears from Hokkaido reached to Honshu.

Show More

About 500–1,500 Ussuri brown bears are present in Heilongjiang, and are classed as a vulnerable population. Illegal hunting and capture have become very serious contributing factors to the decline in bear numbers, as their body parts are of high economic value.

Five regional subpopulations of Ussuri brown bears are now recognized in Hokkaido. Of these, the small size and isolation of the western Ishikari subpopulation has warranted its listing as an endangered species in Japan’s Red Data Book. About 90 to 152 brown bears are thought to dwell in the West Ishikari Region and from 84 to 135 in the Teshio-Mashike mountains. Their habitat has been severely limited by human activities, especially forestry practices and road construction. Excessive harvesting is also a major factor in limiting their population.In 2015, the Biodiversity Division of the Hokkaido government estimated the population as being as high as 10,600.

In Russia, the Ussuri brown bear is considered a game animal, though it is not as extensively hunted as the Eurasian brown bear.

In Korea, a few of these bears still exist only in the North, where this bear is officially recognized as a natural monument by its government. Traditionally called ku'n gom (big bear), whereas black bears are called gom (bear), the Ussuri brown bear became extinct many years ago in South Korea largely due to poaching. In North Korea, the two major areas of brown bear population include Ja Gang Province and the Ham Kyo'ng Mountains. The ones from JaGang are called "RyongLim ku'n gom " (RyongLim big bear) and they are listed as Natural Monument No.124 of North Korea. The others from Hamkyo'ng Mountains are called GwanMoBong Ku'n Gom (GwanMo Peak big bear) and they are listed as Natural Monument No.330 of North Korea. All big bears (Ussuri brown bears) in North Korea are mostly found around the peak areas of mountains. Their average size varies from 150 kg to 250 kg for Ryonglim bears found in the area south of Injeba'k Mountain, up to 600 kg for the ones found in the area north of Injeba'k Mountain.

Show Less
Ussuri brown bear habitat map
Ussuri brown bear habitat map
Ussuri brown bear

Habits and Lifestyle

Diet and Nutrition

Although the diet of an Ussuri brown bear is mainly vegetarian, being a large predator, it is able to kill any prey in its habitat. In Sikhote Alin, Ussuri brown bears den mostly in burrows excavated into hillsides, though they, on rare occasions, den in rock outcroppings or build ground nests. These brown bears rarely encounter Ussuri black bears, as they den at higher elevations and on steeper slopes than the latter species. They may, on rare occasions, attack their smaller black relatives.

Show More

In middle Sakhalin in spring, brown bears feed on the previous year's red bilberry, ants, and flotsam, and at the end of the season, they concentrate on the shoots and rhizomes of tall grasses. On the southern part of the island, they feed primarily on flotsam, as well as insects and maple twigs. In springtime in Sikhote Alin, they feed on acorns, Manchurian walnuts, and Korean nut pine seeds. In times of scarcity, in addition to bilberries and nuts, they feed on larvae, wood-boring ants, and lily roots. In early summer, they strip bark from white-barked fir trees and feed on the cambium and sap. They also eat berries from honeysuckle, yew, Amur grapegrapevine, and buckthorn. In southern Sakhalin, their summer diet consists of currants and chokeberries. In August n the middle part of the island, fish comprise 28% of their diet.

In Hokkaido, the brown bears' diet includes small and large mammals, fish, birds, and insects such as ants. Recent increases in size and weight, reaching 400 kg (880 lb), or possibly up to 450 kg (990 lb) to 550 kg (1,210 lb), are largely caused by feeding on crops.

Show Less



1. Ussuri brown bear Wikipedia article -

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About