List of individual bears

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The following is a list of individual bears which garnered national or worldwide attention:


Wrestlers and performers[edit]


Wojtek with a Polish soldier
  • Hotfoot, later renamed Smokey, a male American black bear cub, was discovered in the 1950 Capitan Gap forest fire in New Mexico, and became the original incarnation of the 1944 Smokey Bear advertising poster created by the Advertising Council's Rudy Wendelin.
  • Touchdown was the unofficial mascot of Cornell University. The Cornell University Athletic Association acquired this black bear cub in the fall of 1915. Touchdown appeared at all of the games played by the Cornell football team that year. At the games, Touchdown was tethered to a stepladder so that he could climb on the home sideline of the field. He also climbed a goal post before each game, which quickly became a tradition for the fans. This year also marked the first year Cornell football went undefeated, which led to fans believing that Touchdown was a good omen.
  • Bruno II was a male Brown Bear who served as a live mascot for Brown University from 1921 to 1928. Bruno II was one in a series of live bear mascots from Helen in 1903 through the 1960s.[21] Later, he had a brief theatrical career in a play, where they rewrote the part to allow a bear to appear instead of a lamb.[22]
  • Rocky (originally named Rakkasan), a female Asian black bear, was purchased as a cub for 40,000 yen (approximately $111) by members of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (United States) from a zoo in Kumamoto, Japan, where they were stationed during the Korean War. She made five parachute jumps, which allowed her to qualify as a paratrooper, and received a Purple Heart after being injured by shell fragments under enemy artillery fire. In 1954, at the age of 16 months, she was sent to live at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.[23][24]
  • Wojtek, a male Syrian brown bear, was adopted by a Polish army unit stationed in Iran during World War II. In order for Wojtek to accompany the unit when they sailed from Egypt to Italy, he was drafted into the Polish army as a Private. He took part in the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 by carrying artillery ammunition. After the war he lived in Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland.
  • Winnipeg, a female American black bear, was purchased as a cub at a train stop in Ontario, Canada, by a member of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps (CAVC), who named her after his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She became the CAVC mascot and accompanied the unit to England. When the unit transferred to France for combat, she was given to the London Zoo, where she lived from 1915 to 1934. Winnipeg is best known today as the inspiration for the character Winnie-the-Pooh in A. A. Milne's classic children's books.

Companion bears[edit]

Wild bears[edit]

  • Bear 71, a female grizzly bear who lived in Banff National Park, was collared at the age of three and watched her whole life via trail cameras in the park. She is the subject of a 2011 National Film Board of Canada web documentary Bear 71, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.[26][27]
  • Bear 141, a large male grizzly bear residing in Katmai National Park that killed and partially devoured naturalist and bear-enthusiast Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard in 2003. Bear 141 was shot and killed by park rangers on October 6, 2003, to allow retrieval of the bodies. The events leading up to the deaths are documented in the film Grizzly Man.
  • Bear 409 (Also called Beadnose)is a wild brown bear residing in Alaska's Katmai National Park. Bear 409 was recognized in 2018 as part of a campaign on the park's social media accounts as the park's fattest bear of 2018. [28]
  • Bear JJ1 (also called "Bruno," "Beppo," or "Petzi"), a male Eurasian brown bear seen during the first half of 2006, was the first brown bear spotted in Southern Germany for a century.[29] He was controversially shot in June 2006 after killing domestic animals.[30]
  • Cinder, a young female black bear rescued and rehabilitated after her paws were badly burned in a fire. She was released after she recovered, and was shot by a hunter around October of 2017.
  • Cocaine bear was an 175 lb eastern black bear who was notable for being found having ingested 77 lbs of cocaine worth $14 million USD in Georgia's Chattahoochee - Oconee National Forest. His body is on display in Kentucky.
  • Grizzly 399, a female grizzly bear who lives in Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson, Wyoming. The number 399 is her numeric research number. She was made famous by wildlife photographers and tourists around 2005 and now millions come to the parks each summer to see her and her cubs.
  • Hank the Tank, a Lake Tahoe black bear accused of breaking into thirty human residences in the search for food; later exonerated on DNA evidence.
  • Hope, a female American black bear cub famous for being "born on the internet" in 2010 when her birth was broadcast by webcam, and her mother Lily were subjects of a study by Professor Lynn Rogers and were featured in the BBC documentary The Bear Family & Me. In September 2011, it was reported that Hope was believed to have been shot dead by hunters.[31]
  • Kesagake was an Ussuri brown bear who in December 1915 killed seven people in Sankebetsu, in the worst bear attack in Japanese history.
  • MacFarlane's Bear, an abnormal-looking grizzly bear killed by Inuit hunters in 1864 and initially believed to represent a new species. Later examination determined it to be a grizzly bear.
  • Old Ephraim (also called "Old Three Toes" due to a deformed foot), a male grizzly bear, was a very large bear who roamed the Cache National Forest circa 1911–1923.
  • Pedals was an American black bear who walked upright on his hind legs due to injuries on his front paws. He was filmed many times walking around suburban neighborhoods in New Jersey, and became well known as the videos were published on the internet.
  • The sloth bear of Mysore was an unusually aggressive Indian sloth bear who killed a minimum of twelve people during the mid-20th century before being killed by Kenneth Anderson.
  • Yellow-Yellow, a black bear in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, was known for her ability to open several models of bear-resistant food storage containers. [32]
  • An (unnamed) old injured bear was tied up in Mississippi as part of a canned hunt for President Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear, and this event was popularized by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, resulting in the creation of the Teddy bear.

Zoological specimens[edit]

Knut, the famous polar bear cub from the Berlin Zoological Garden, in May 2007
  • Arturo, a male polar bear at Mendoza Zoological Park in Argentina. There was a widespread campaign for him to be transferred to Canada due to concern over his living conditions at the park.
  • Binky, a male polar bear at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, Alaska, became famous in the summer of 1994 after mauling several zoo visitors who, disregarding safety bars and signs, got too close to the bear's enclosure.
  • Brumas, a female polar bear (born November 1949), was the first baby polar bear to be successfully reared in the United Kingdom. Raised at Regent's Park Zoo in London, she became a major celebrity and was largely responsible for zoo attendance records. Although a female, it was erroneously reported in the press that Brumas was male, and as such many members of the public believed her to be a "he". Brumas died in May 1958.[33]
  • Debby, a female polar bear at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. She is the world's oldest known polar bear, dying at age 41.
  • Flocke, a female polar bear, was born in captivity at the Nuremberg Zoo in Nuremberg, Germany on 11 December 2007. After concerns over the cub's safety were raised due to her aggressive mother, Flocke was removed from the other bears in the zoo and raised by hand. She became a popular tourist attraction at the zoo; her trademarked name and image were used in a publicity campaign for the metropolitan region of Nuremberg.
  • Gus, a male polar bear at the Central Park Zoo in New York City from 1988 to 2013, came to media attention in the 1990s when he was seen obsessively swimming in his pool for up to 12 hours a day.[34] The zoo paid an animal behavioral therapist to diagnose Gus' problem;[34] the therapist concluded that Gus was "bored and mildly crazy in the way that a lot of people are in New York".[35] Gus' erratic behavior tapered off with changes to his habitat and mealtimes;[34] he was also the first zoo animal in history to be treated with Prozac.[36] From the publicity surrounding his diagnosis and treatment, Gus became a symbol of the "neurotic" New Yorker[35][37] and was the subject of several books and a play.
  • Inuka (Inuit for "Silent Stalker"), a male polar bear, was born in 1990, and one of the mascots of the Singapore Zoo.
  • Knut, a male polar bear born in captivity at the Berlin Zoological Garden, was rejected by his mother at birth and raised by zookeepers. He was the first polar bear cub to survive past infancy at the Berlin Zoo in more than 30 years. At one time the subject of international controversy, he became a tourist attraction and commercial success.[38] Knut became the center of a mass media phenomenon dubbed "Knutmania" that spanned the globe and spawned toys, media specials, DVDs, and books. Because of this, the cub was largely responsible for a significant increase in revenue, estimated at about five million euros, at the Berlin Zoo in 2007.[39] On 19 March 2011, Knut unexpectedly died at the age of four. His death was caused by drowning after he collapsed into his enclosure's pool while suffering from encephalitis.[40]
  • Monarch, a male California grizzly bear, was one of the last wild grizzly bears in California, United States. Monarch was captured in 1889 upon orders of newspaper editor William Randolph Hearst and was put on public display by Hearst at Woodward's Gardens in San Francisco. At the time he was thought to be the largest bear in captivity, and over 20,000 people came to see him on the first day of the exhibit. After his death, his stuffed body was used as the model for the bear on the California state flag.
  • Nora, a female polar bear at the Oregon Zoo.
  • Old Martin was a large grizzly bear given to George III in 1811 by the Hudson's Bay Company. The bear was sent to join the Royal Menagerie, housed at the Tower of London. Although this was the first grizzly bear in England, the king said he would rather have had been given a new tie or a pair of socks.[41][42][43]
  • Pipaluk, a male polar bear, was the first male polar bear born in captivity in Britain, and, like Brumas, became a major celebrity at Regent's Park Zoo in London during early 1968. His name came from an Inuit term meaning "little one". Pipaluk was moved from London to Poland in 1985 when the Mappin Terraces, which housed the bears, was closed. He died in 1990.[33]
  • Siku, a male polar bear, was born in November 2011. Abandoned by his mother, who produced insufficient milk to feed him, he was put into care at Skandinavisk Dyrepark (the Scandinavian Wildlife Park, Denmark). A YouTube video of him became an overnight sensation, and invited comparisons with Knut (polar bear).
  • Wilbär, a male polar bear, was born at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany in 2007.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Inspired by Late Animal Actor 'Bart the Bear'". Vital Ground Protects Grizzly Bear Habitat. October 13, 2013. Archived from the original on July 13, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  2. ^ "Bart the Bear". Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife.
  3. ^ "Bart the Bear 2". Wasatch Rocky Mountain Wildlife.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Terri. "Game of Thrones cast a Bear". Zap2it. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Vital Ground: Bart the Bear II and Honey Bump" Archived 2013-12-12 at the Wayback Machine,, accessed May 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Welcome to
  7. ^ "SHORT TAKES : 'Grizzly Adams' Bear Dies at Zoo". Los Angeles Times. January 8, 1990. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  8. ^ Beck, Ken, and Jim Clark. The Encyclopedia of TV Pets: A Complete History of Television's Greatest Animal Stars. Rutledge Hill Press, 2002, p. 160-161. ISBN 1-55853-981-6.
  9. ^ "Brody the Kodiak Brown Bear". Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  10. ^ "Gentle Ben: Season One". Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  11. ^ Beck, Ken, and Jim Clark. The Encyclopedia of TV Pets: A Complete History of Television's Greatest Animal Stars. Rutledge Hill Press, 2002, p. 241-242. ISBN 1-55853-981-6.
  12. ^ "Ronald Oxley, 46, Trainer of TV and Movie Animals, Dies." Los Angeles Times, Dec. 30, 1985, available online at, accessed May 19, 2015.
  13. ^ Anderson, George. "'Train Robbers' at Fulton, 'Judge Roy Bean' at Warner" (movie review), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 8, 1973, p. 7.
  14. ^ Billington, Dave. "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean: Some Life! Some Times!" (movie review), Montreal Gazette, Feb. 17, 1973, accessed May 19, 2015.
  15. ^ "1980: Missing Scottish bear is found". BBC News. 13 September 1980.
  16. ^ "Montana Grizzly Encounter". Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  17. ^ "Casey Anderson: Grizzly Bear Expert". Montana Travel. Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
  18. ^ Sharon Petzold (producer-writer), Sue Houghton (director) (2010). Grizzly Face to Face: Hollywood Bear Tragedy (television documentary). United States: National Geographic Channel.
  19. ^ "Bear With Us". Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  20. ^ Pincus, David. "The Amazing True Story of Victor, the Wrestling Bear.", Feb. 27, 2014, accessed May 22, 2015.
  21. ^ Mackie, Peter. "And The Bear Growls". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Bear". Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  23. ^ Rosenthal, Mark, et al. The Ark in the Park: The Story of Lincoln Park Zoo. Univ. of Illinois, 2003, p. 79. ISBN 0-252-02861-9.
  24. ^ "Parachuting Bear Leaves Army For Zoo," Tuscaloosa News, Oct. 24, 1954, p. 26.
  25. ^ "Meet Casey Anderson - and his best friend, an 800-pound bear". LA Times. 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  26. ^ Monk, Katherine. "Sundance: Interactive film, Bear 71, blurs lines between wild and wired". Postmedia News. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  27. ^ Makarechi, Kia (24 January 2012). "'Bear 71': Interactive Film At Sundance Tells Dark Side Of Human Interaction With Wildlife". Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  28. ^ @KatmaiNPS. "Fattest Bear of 2018 is..." Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  29. ^ Bruno the bear dodges German hunt, BBC News, 19 June 2006.
  30. ^ Hall, Allan (27 June 2006). "Outcry as Bruno the bear shot dead". The Scotsman. Edinburgh.
  31. ^ "World famous black bear Hope is believed killed". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  32. ^ "Bear-Proof Can Is Pop-Top Picnic for a Crafty Thief". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  33. ^ a b Zoological Society of London "Famous animals" webpage, accessed October 26, 2008 Archived November 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ a b c Kleinfield, N.R. (28 August 2013). "Farewell to Gus, Whose Issues Made Him a Star". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  35. ^ a b Friend, Tad (24 April 1995). "It's a Jungle in Here". New York: 43–50. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  36. ^ Frost, Warwick (2010). Zoos and Tourism: Conservation, Education, Entertainment?. Channel View Publications. p. 51. ISBN 978-1845412074.
  37. ^ Kifner, John (2 July 1994). "ABOUT NEW YORK;Stay-at-Home SWB, 8, Into Fitness, Seeks Thrills". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  38. ^ Moore, Tristana (23 March 2007). "Baby bear becomes media star". BBC. Retrieved 21 April 2007.
  39. ^ Boyes, Roger (13 December 2007). "Berlin Zoo culls creator of the cult of Knut". The Times. London. Retrieved 8 July 2009.
  40. ^ "Celebrity Polar Bear Knut Is Dead". Spiegel Online. 19 March 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  41. ^ Kennedy, Maev (18 October 1999). "Tower's old grizzly back on show". Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  42. ^ "The Tower of London: Discover The Wild Beasts That Once Roamed The Royal Menagerie". Historic Royal Palaces. Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
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