There are many bears around the world. Most live in the Northern hemisphere. When we think of bears we generally think of brown or black bears and polar bears. Pandas come next but there are a few other species that are bears as well.

In South-East Asia there is the Sun-bear that lives in the tropical forests. In South Asia there is the Sloth Bear which is not related to the Sloths of South America but to the brown bear. They are insectivores mostly and live in the forests of Indian, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

China is of course home to the Panda. Once thought to be a bear it was then decided that it was a racoon like animal due to its coloring but genetics has confirmed that it is a bear.

In South America there is the Spectacled bear which lives in a limited range in the Andes.

Of course the large majority of bears live in the northern latitudes. Across the top of Russia, Europe and Asia we have the American and the Asian Black Bears and the Brown Bear of which the Grizzly and Eurasian brown bears are subspecies.

If you go far enough north though you will of course find the white polar bear of the Arctic the largest of the lot.

North America

Seeing bears in the US and Canada is relatively easy. Black and brown bear numbers are fairly robust and any trip to a wildness area with a concerted effort to see a bear will be successful. Bears are so numerous in fact that sometimes park rangers close parts of national parks to hikers due to bear activities.

Alaska with its tiny population and great wilderness is a hotspot for bear watching, especially during the salmon run when both black and brown bears take advantage of the salmon returning to spawn and fatten themselves up for the coming winter.

Lake Louise in Banff National Park is also a good spot for bear watching. It is quite common to see grizzlies around the ski area in the spring time when they come out to feed on the berries. Also the train lines that go through the park are a hotspot as a lot of the grain cars are overloaded and grain spills on the tracks.

Churchill in Manitoba right on the hudson bay is considered the polar bear capital of the world and is a super spot to see them. Northern Alaska too is good but a bit more difficult to get to.


From Sweden across Russia to Kamchatka bears are common. Finland is a good spot to see the Eurasian brown bear as is the spectacular Kamchatka peninsula across the sea from Russia. In Finland there are plenty of hides set up to allow visitors to wait through the mostly light night in comfort. Russia is a bit wilder though but some expedition cruises take in the far east and though they are quite expensive they do provide guaranteed wildlife sightings.