Syrian brown bears (Ursus arctos syriacus) are a small species of brown bear that is endemic to the Middle East. They were first classified in 1828 by naturalist Wilhelm Hemprich and zoologist Christian Ehrenberg.
This brown bear can be found sleeping or hibernating in caves and hollow trees in mountainous terrain. The Syrian brown bear was found in parts of Lebanon, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, and of course, Syria. However, their population has decreased over the years and they can now only be found in Turkey, Iran, and Iraq.
Syrian brown bears can weigh up to 550 pounds and grow to about 4.5 feet tall. They are the smallest bears under the Ursus arctos species. They have light brown (sometimes greyish) colored fur.
The Syrian brown bear has darker fur on the legs and some have a brown patch of fur on the top of their heads. Some bears also have a white-collar and a dark stripe that runs down the back. They are the only bears to have white claws.
These bears are omnivorous mammals. Their main food source is found in forests, meadows, and grasslands. The Syrian brown bear eats grass, nuts, fruits, as well as small animals.
The Syrian brown bear population continues to decline. They are already an extinct species in Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, due to habitat loss and hunting.
- Syrian brown bear – Bear Conservation
- First Syrian brown bear in 60 years caught on camera in Lebanon
- Carnivores of Syria
- “Brown bear(s) do exist in Syria: fuzzy photo generates much interest” (PDF)
- Syrian brown bear in Iraq
- “Status and management of brown bears in Turkey” (PDF)