The grizzly bear is a North American subspecies of the brown bear that once roamed the Great Plains. Today, only about 1,000 grizzlies remain in the continental U.S. Identifiable by its distinctive hump and the grayish, or grizzled, tips of its fur, the mighty grizzly bear has a terrific sense of smell and can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Despite their reputation as predators, grizzlies actually get many of their nutrients from nuts, berries, roots and insects.
Grizzlies tend to confine their movements during late summer and fall to the alpine areas where one critical food source–seeds of the Whitebark Pine–are present. Unfortunately, the Whitebark Pine is threatened by rising temperatures and more frequent droughts caused by global warming. This is a serious problem for grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park who gorge on the nutritious seeds to store energy for winter hibernation.
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