There are eight species of bear alive in the world today. Most of these are further divided into a number of subspecies. To find out more about each species click on the photographs or species names below.
The world’s most common bear species is found in 32 states of the United States, all the provinces and territories of Canada with the exception of Prince Edward Island, and in northern Mexico. There are sixteen recognised subspecies
Found in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, the Lao PD, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. There are seven recognised subspecies.
The brown bear is the most widely distributed of all bears and is found in Asia, Europe and North America. There are sixteen widely recognised subspecies.
Confined to the rainforests of the mountainous regions of the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu. The Qinling subspecies is found only in the Qinling Mountains, at altitudes of 1,300 to 3,300 metres.
The range of polar bears is limited to areas in the northern hemisphere which are covered in sea ice for much of the year. There are no recognised subspecies.
Found in Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan and Nepal. There may still be bears in the wet forests of Bangladesh but this is by no means certain. There are two recognised subspecies.
Andean bears are South America’s only bear and are found in the Andean cloud forests at heights of up to 4,300 metres (14,000 feet).
Confined to the lowland forests of southeast Asia. There are two recognised subspecies.
Three extinct brown bear subspecies have so far been recognised; the Atlas bear from North Africa, the California golden bear and the Mexican grizzly.
Page updated 22 August 2017