Glacier bear

The glacier bear (Ursus americanus emmonsii), sometimes referred to as the blue bear, is a subspecies of American black bear with silver-blue or gray hair endemic to Southeast Alaska. Little scientific knowledge exists of their total extent and the cause of their unique coloration. Most of the other black bears in southeast Alaska are listed under the subspecies Ursus americanus pugnax.[2][3] The USDA Forest Service lists U. a. emmonsii as one of several subspecies of black bears, although no evidence supports the subspecies designation other than hair coloration.[4]

Glacier bear
Glacier Bear with cubs
A black bear with glacier bear cubs

Vulnerable (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
U. a. emmonsii
Trinomial name
Ursus americanus emmonsii
Dall, 1895

Unique features

U. a. emmonsii

The chief feature distinguishing the glacier bear from other black bears is its pelage (hair coloration), which ranges from silvery blue to gray. The subspecies was reported by Dall in 1895.[5] This variation can be seen on individual bears that are often lighter on their backs and shoulders, with their legs and belly being much darker or even black.

Habitat and range

The glacier bear's habitat ranges has been reported to be the Alaskan coastal areas between Cross Sound and Cape St. Elias and from Prince William Sound to Glacier Bay in southeast Alaska, with a few sightings as far east as Juneau, Alaska, and the Taku River.[6][7] This region includes Glacier Bay National Park and portions of Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest preserve.[8][2][3] Few studies document the subspecies' range in association with other black bears. See for instance,[9]

Glacier bears share most of the characteristics of black bears such as their habitat preferences, food sources, size, and reproductive cycles. They prefer forest with thick understory and landscapes with lots of vegetation, but can be found in urban populated areas. The glacier bear habitat is dependent upon food source availability, and they move between forest, meadows, streams, and mountains in search of food and shelter. Black bears in general are very capable climbers and can use trees as a place of protection and refuge. Glacier bears move into their dens in early winter, which can be an overturned tree, a rock ledge, or a cave.


Glacier bears, like all other black bears, are omnivores, with their diets varying depending on the food source available during the season and the location.[10] Their diet includes young shoots and roots in early spring. During the summer in Alaska, the glacier bear eats the abundant Pacific salmon spawning in the streams. In some areas, moose and deer are a food source for black bears. During the fall, the bears eat the starchy roots of ground cones and the variety of berries found in Alaska such as blueberries, salmonberries, raspberries, and cranberries.


Breeding habits are much like any other black bear. The glacier bear female normally has her first litter by 3–5 years of age. This breeding period takes place in June through July. Gestation lasts 235 days and cubs are born in January to early February.[10] Because of the increasing range of all subspecies of black bears since the last glacier maximum, interbreeding is taking place. So, it is possible to see a black-colored bear give birth to a bear with the glacier bears' pelage and vice versa.


Very little is known about this rare color variation, so some potential threats could become an issue for the glacier bear. Some of these threats are overharvesting and gene swamping. Currently, no population projections are made due to the lack of genetic understanding. With the interbreeding capabilities of other black bears with different pelage, determining the future distinctive color variation and population density may become even more complicated. Also, speculation exists that the glacier bear had its origins in hybrids between black bears and grizzlies.[11]

Further reading


  1. ^ "Glacier bear". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b MacDonald, S.O. and Cook, J.A. (2007) Mammals and amphibians of Southeast Alaska. The Museum of Southwestern Biology, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001.
  3. ^ a b Schoen, J and Peacock, L. (2007) "Black Bear" in J Schoen and E Dovichin (eds.) The coastal forest and mountains ecoregion of southeastern Alaska and the Tongass National Forest. Audubon Alaska and The Nature Conservancy, 715 L Street, Anchorage, Alaska
  4. ^
  5. ^ ITIS (15 Aug 2007). "Infraspecific taxon details : Ursus americanus emmonsii Dall, 1895". Catalogue of Life. Naturalis Biodiversity Center.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Threatened Wildlife of the United States, U.S. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Washington, for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Office.
  9. ^ (Erickson 1965) Hall, E. Raymond. 1981. The Mammals of North America, Vols. I & II. John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York.
  10. ^ a b Powell, Roger A., Zimmerman, John Wayne and Seaman, David Erran (1997) Ecology and behaviour of North American black bears: home ranges, habitat, and social organization. Vol. 4. Springer, ISBN 0412788306.
  11. ^ Bear facts
American black bear

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most widely distributed bear species. American black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in search of food. Sometimes they become attracted to human communities because of the immediate availability of food. The American black bear is the world's most common bear species.

It is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a least-concern species, due to its widespread distribution and a large population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined. Along with the brown bear, it is one of only two of the eight modern bear species not considered by the IUCN to be globally threatened with extinction. American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.

Bear Glacier

Bear Glacier may refer to one of several glaciers:

Bear Glacier Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada

Bear Glacier within Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, United States

Medvezhiy Glacier ("Bear Glacier" in Russian) in Tajikistan

Cabela's Alaskan Adventures

Cabela's Alaskan Adventures (also known as Cabela's Big Game Hunter: 10th Anniversary Edition - Alaskan Adventure for Windows) is a hunting video game which was developed by Sand Grain Studios, FUN Labs, and Magic Wand Productions and published by Activision for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 video game consoles and Microsoft Windows.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a municipal natural history and science museum in Denver, Colorado. It is a resource for informal science education in the Rocky Mountain region. A variety of exhibitions, programs, and activities help museum visitors learn about the natural history of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The 716,000-square-foot (66,519 m2) building houses more than one million objects in its collections including natural history and anthropological materials, as well as archival and library resources.

The museum is an independent, nonprofit institution with approximately 350 full-time and part-time staff, more than 1,800 volunteers, and a 25-member board of trustees. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate.


Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. The extreme opposite of endemism is cosmopolitan distribution. An alternative term for a species that is endemic is precinctive, which applies to species (and subspecific categories) that are restricted to a defined geographical area.

Field Museum of Natural History

The Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), also known as The Field Museum, is a natural history museum in Chicago, and is one of the largest such museums in the world. The museum maintains its status as a premier natural-history museum through the size and quality of its educational and scientific programs, as well as due to its extensive scientific-specimen and artifact collections. The diverse, high-quality permanent exhibitions, which attract up to two million visitors annually, range from the earliest fossils to past and current cultures from around the world to interactive programming demonstrating today's urgent conservation needs. The museum is named in honor of its first major benefactor, the department-store magnate Marshall Field. The museum and its collections originated from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and the artifacts displayed at the fair.The museum maintains a temporary exhibition program of traveling shows as well as in-house produced topical exhibitions. The professional staff maintains collections of over 24 million specimens and objects that provide the basis for the museum’s scientific-research programs. These collections include the full range of existing biodiversity, gems, meteorites, fossils, and rich anthropological collections and cultural artifacts from around the globe. The museum's library, which contains over 275,000 books, journals, and photo archives focused on biological systematics, evolutionary biology, geology, archaeology, ethnology and material culture, supports the museum’s academic-research faculty and exhibit development. The academic faculty and scientific staff engage in field expeditions, in biodiversity and cultural research on every continent, in local and foreign student training, and in stewardship of the rich specimen and artifact collections. They work in close collaboration with public programming exhibitions and education initiatives.

Glacier National Park (U.S.)

Glacier National Park is an American national park located in northwestern Montana, on the Canada–United States border, adjacent to the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1 million acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem," a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans. Upon the arrival of European explorers, it was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Under pressure, the Blackfeet ceded the mountainous parts of their treaty lands in 1895 to the federal government; it later became part of the park. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932 work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.

The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest examples of early life fossils on Earth. The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved U-shaped valleys and left behind moraines which impounded water, creating lakes. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century during the late Little Ice Age, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the active glaciers may disappear by 2030 if current climate patterns persist.Glacier National Park has almost all its original native plant and animal species. Large mammals such as grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats, as well as rare or endangered species like wolverines and Canadian lynxes, inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra. The easternmost forests of western redcedar and hemlock grow in the southwest portion of the park. Large forest fires are unusual in the park; however, more than 13% of the park burned in 2003.Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and were designated as the world's first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites. In April 2017, the joint park received a provisional Gold Tier designation as Waterton-Glacier International Dark Sky Park through the International Dark Sky Association, the first transboundary dark sky park.

Hotel Impossible

Hotel Impossible is a reality television program from Travel Channel in which struggling non-chain hotels receive an extensive makeover by veteran hotel operator and hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri and team. The show premiered on April 9, 2012. After airing seven seasons, the series launched a spin-off series called Hotel Impossible: Showdown which involves four hoteliers of a pre-selected region that visit each other's establishments and judge each other for the highest ranking and a prize of $25,000. During season 8, another spin-off series called Hotel Impossible: Five Star Secrets began airing. In it, Anthony visits luxury resorts, learns what makes them special and awards a $5,000 super tip to a deserving staff member. The show was not renewed for a new season in 2018 and is 'no longer in active production'.

List of glaciers in the United States

This is a list of glaciers existing in the United States, currently or in recent centuries. These glaciers are located in nine states, all in the Rocky Mountains or farther west. The southernmost named glacier among them is the Lilliput Glacier in Tulare County, east of the Central Valley of California.

Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park

Tatshenshini-Alsek Park or Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada 9,580 km2 (3,700 sq mi). It was established in 1993 after an intensive campaign by Canadian and American conservation organizations to halt mining exploration and development in the area, and protect the area for its strong natural heritage and biodiversity values.

The park is situated in the very northwestern corner of British Columbia, bordering the American state of Alaska and the Canadian Yukon Territory. It nestles between Kluane National Park and Reserve in the Yukon and Glacier Bay & Wrangell–St. Elias National Parks and Preserves in Alaska. It is part of the Kluane-Wrangell-St. Elias-Glacier Bay-Tatshenshini-Alsek park system, and in 1994 was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tlingit clans

The Tlingit clans of Southeast Alaska, in the United States, are one of the indigenous cultures within Alaska. The Tlingit people also live in the Northwest Interior of British Columbia, Canada, and in the southern Yukon Territory. There are two main Tlingit lineages or moieties within Alaska, which are subdivided into a number of clans and houses.

USCGC Taney (WHEC-37)

USCGC Taney (WPG/WAGC/WHEC-37) () is a United States Coast Guard High Endurance Cutter, notable as the last warship floating that fought in the attack on Pearl Harbor, although Taney was moored in nearby Honolulu Harbor not Pearl Harbor itself (a non-combatant vessel at Pearl Harbor, the US Navy tug Hoga, also remains afloat). She was named for Roger B. Taney (1777–1864), who was at various times: U.S. Attorney General, Secretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the United States.

She is also one of two Treasury-class (out of seven total) Coast Guard cutters still afloat. Serving her country for 50 years, the Taney saw action in both theaters of combat in World War II, serving as command ship at the Battle of Okinawa, and as part of fleet escort in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She also served in the Vietnam War in Operation Market Time. Taney patrolled the seas working in drug interdiction and fisheries protection.She was decommissioned in 1986, and has served as a museum ship in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland since. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988.

Ursus (genus)

Ursus is a genus in the family Ursidae (bears) that includes the widely distributed brown bear, the polar bear,the American black bear, and the

Asian black bear. The name is derived from the Latin ursus, meaning bear.


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