world bear day

World Bear Day

World Bear Day is observed around the globe on March 23rd and celebrates all bears, regardless of species.

Read on to learn more about these much-loved mammals, their threats, and what you can do to help.

World Bear Day celebrates all eight species of bear:

  • The North American black bear
  • The Asiatic black bear
  • The Brown bear/grizzly bear
  • The giant panda
  • The polar bear
  • The Andean bear/spectacled bear
  • The sloth bear
  • The sun bear

Six of these species are threatened or vulnerable by the IUCN (Red List of Endangered Species).

5 facts about Bears 

  1. Bears live a solitary lifestyle, apart from mothers and cubs.
  2. Bears have an omnivore diet of fish, nectar and insects.
  3. Adult grizzly bears can run up to an incredible 35-40mph - the same pace as a greyhound.
  4. Bears are often seen as ecosystem engineers as they enrich soil, balance the ecosystem and disperse seeds.
  5. The illegal wildlife trade and loss of their natural habitats is the most significant threat to bears in modern times.

How bears have been and are being cruelly exploited:

Bear Bile

Living bears in Asia are farmed for the bile in their gallbladders. The bile is sold for traditional medicine. These bears are often in cages no bigger than phone booths for their entire lives; they often moan and rock due to extreme anxiety. All methods of extracting bile from live bears cause severe distress and pain.

Bear Dancing

Captive bears, often stolen from the wild as cubs, are forced to 'dance' for tourists on the streets as a form of begging. They are trained through extremely cruel techniques.

Bear Baiting

Bear baiting is an illegal and inhumane bloodsport where bears, unable to defend themselves, battle against trained dogs for entertainment. These bears suffer unimaginable injuries and rarely live beyond eight years old.

Bear dancing in Pakistan

Kainat, meaning ‘the universe’, is a beautiful seven -year old Himalayan brown bear who has been surrendered to BRC in November 2017 from the Punjab Province. She has been used for baiting for about five years.

How can I celebrate World Bear Day?

As a global event, World Bear Day is observed in many different ways. It doesn't matter where you live, or whether you’re an individual or business, you can celebrate by:

  • Sign up for our newsletter and prepare for our calls to help change legislation and end the cruel practices affecting bears.
  • Teach others about the intelligence of bears: the more we learn about the minds of animals, the harder it is to justify the practices we use that cause them to suffer.
  • Raise awareness about the alternatives to bear bile use in traditional medicine, including herbal and synthetic products, which are readily available, affordable and effective.

No matter your nationality, religion, or faith, you can be involved with this important day.

Find out about more animal awareness days here

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Discover our current campaigns and past successes for bears:

Traditional medicine

Ending commercial exploitation

Ending the exploitation of wild animals used in Traditional Medicine

Protecting wildlife in travel & tourism


Would a real responsible traveller have captive wildlife entertainment on their wish list?

Ending commercial exploitation


Together we can drive down consumer demand and expose the lies of businesses that profit from cruelly exploiting wild animals.

Bear FAQs

Are bears wild animals?

Bears are wild animals found in the forest and mountainous regions of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Sadly, not every wild bear gets to live freely. Bears remain imprisoned and abused around the world.


Are bears intelligent?

Bears are sentient animals with thoughts, feelings, and individual personalities. They are highly intelligent animals, shown to grieve deeply and show altruistic behaviour in sharing food with unrelated bears during food shortages.


What are the physical characteristics of bears?

Bears commonly have large bodies, large paws, long snouts, small rounded ears, and shaggy hair. They are brown, black and white. They range in size from 4-8ft and 60-1000 pounds.

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