Assessed as being of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the powerful grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) eats a mainly vegetarian diet. Once common on the prairies, grizzlies are now found only in the western and northern regions of Canada.
Two thirds of the world’s population of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) roam Canada’s circumpolar region. On average, they are the largest bear species in the world – males can weigh up to 800 kilograms – and are superbly adapted to life on the sea ice. Unfortunately, polar bears have also been assessed as a special concern by COSEWIC as a result of increased ice loss caused by the warming climate.
The most widely distributed bear species in North America, the American black bear (Ursus americanus) inhabits every province and territory, except Prince Edward Island (where it once lived). Named after their most common colour, black bears can sport coats of blond, brown, blue and cinnamon – and almost any hue in between. Offspring with white or cream-coloured fur can also occur, most commonly in populations on the west coast known as Kermode bears (Ursus americanus). White Kermode bears have long been featured in the traditions of coastal First Nations people.
—With photos by renowned wildlife photographers Michelle Valberg and Robert Postma, these stamps are the safest way to come face to face with these four majestic bears.