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180px-Bergman Bear

Artist's Rendering

The Bergman's Bear (Ursus arctos piscator) is an alleged and probably extinct subspecies of the Brown Bear that lived on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The bear was identified and named by Swedish zoologist Sten Bergman in 1920.

Bergman determined that the bear was a separate subspecies after examining a hide (which had fur very different from other local bears) and series of footprints, measuring 14.5 x 10 inches, which he judged to be much larger than other bears in Kamchatka. (The Kamchatka brown bear is already bigger than most bear species.)

Some think that the Cold War may have helped the population to recover because the Soviet Military blocked access to the area at that time.

Kamchatka bear

This brute taken on the Kamchatka Peninsula is a regular size bear.

Interest in the bear was revitalized in the 1960s. Hunter Rodion Sivobolov reported claims by Kamchatka natives of an unusually large bear they called either the "Irkuiem" (roughly meaning "trousers pulled down" due to the appearance of the bear's hind legs), or the "God bear" due to its large size.


The mighty short faced bear. 6 feet tall at the shoulder and up to 15 on its back legs.

Based on Sivobolov's description, biologist N.K. Vereshchagin suggested that the God bear might be a relict Arctodus simus, a massive extinct bear. This idea was coolly received by the scientific community. But that species had long slender legs, which disagrees with "Irkuiem", a reference to baggy pants when they are pulled down. However, in nearby Alaska, the Boone and Crockett club announced that a grizzly bear taken by Larry Fitzgerald in 2013 near Fairbanks, Alaska will enter the record books as the largest ever taken by a hunter, and the second largest grizzly skull in the world. That skull was also found in Alaska and measured 27 13/16 of an inch, 7/16 bigger than Fitzgerald's. Many giant bears have also been reported in Alaska. In the winter, an ice bridge forms between Russia and Alaska. It is possible that some large bears have moved to Russia, and that they are getting bigger and bigger with every generation.