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Exhibition

Ursus

bears of the north

22. Jan 2013 - 13. Jun 2013

Are you afraid of bears? Do you dare to touch it? In the exhibition URSUS you will stand face to face with some of the world largest predators – the bears of the north. In the travelling exhibition URSUS you will find information about five different bears; the European brown bear, the Polar bear, the Grizzly bear, the Kamchatka bear and the American black bear. The five bears can look very similar, but they can be distinguished from each other in several different ways. Visit the exhibition, and learn more! 

The bear has always been an animal one should respect, but formerly people had a more relaxed relationship to it. When one came to a new area, it was a good idea to watch where the bear went, because it would show the way to the food resources in an area. Humans and bears are both omnivores and have many of the same eating habits. There was only a problem if the bear killed livestock.

In fact there was no hunting of bears or the other large predators in Norway before the late 18###sup/sup### century, and more especially before the Hunting Act of1845, which had the aim of exterminating the large predators. Between 1920 and 1973, when the bear became a protected species, it was reckoned to be almost extinct in Norway. Although they could be found in a few barren areas in Norway, the few individuals which were left had no particular influence on the ecology. Bears, being at the top of the food chain, are the key species in the ecosystems. They restrict the population of deer, and see to it that certain areas are not over-grazed, ticks don’t get out of control, and that nestlings and birds’ eggs are not eaten by smaller predators

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED 

Today it is a hot topic for discussion as to whether we should protect our predators, amongst them the bear. The Natural Diversity Act in fact establishes that natural species, ecosystems and the diversity of species shall be able to develop in its natural habitat. At the same time as the bear population of Norway is controlled, they are allowed to live in particular areas, and are not permitted to spread into the south and west of the country. On the Norwegian Threatened Species Red List, bears are assessed as Critically Endangered. If the management of this species in Norway continues in the same way, it will never be removed from this list.