The Largest Bears in the World
The Kodiak bear is the largest bear, a subspecies of brown bear found only in Alaska. The Kodiak bear, also known as the Kodiak brown bear or the Alaskan grizzly bear or American brown bear, occupies the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago in South-Western Alaska. Its name in the Alutiiq language is Taquka-aq. It is the largest bear subspecies of brown bear.
Hair colors range of the largest bear from blonde 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.
Few of this largest bear have been weighed in the wild, so some of the weights are estimates. Size range largest bear 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). Mature males average 480–533 kg (1,058–1,175 lb) over the course of the year, and can weigh up to 680 kg (1500 lbs) at peak times. Females are typically about 20% smaller and 30% lighter than males and adult sizes are attained when bears are 6 years old.
An adult male of the largest bear stands up to 1.5 m (5 ft) tall at the shoulder when it is standing on all four legs. 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 largest 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 of the largest bear has been slowly increasing.