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Giant panda

Bears are members of the family Ursaring. A bear is a large and heavy mammal with thick fur. All bears are omnivores, even those which eat a mostly meat diet (polar bears) or a mostly plant diet (pandas). There are eight generally recognized extant species of bears:

  • Polar Bear - Lives in the Arctic maritime region and hunts (primarily) seals.
  • Brown Bear - The species to which the Grizzly bear belongs. More subspecies include the Kodiak bear and the European brown bear. Lives in temperate forested regions of North America, Europe, and Asia.
  • American Black Bear - Smaller than the grizzly, and lives in North America. Subspecies include the Kermode bear which lives in British Columbia.
  • Asiatic Black Bear - A bear species that lives in Asia.
  • Giant Panda - Lives in China and eats a plant diet of bamboo.
  • Spectacled Bear - A small bear that lives in South America.
  • Sloth Bear - Lives in South Asia and eats termites.
  • Sun Bear - A small bear that lives in Southeast Asia.

The Cinnamon Bear, a subspecies of the American Black Bear, is the smallest North American bear.

Bears in culture and the Bible

Bears are frequent mascots for schools and sports teams, including the Chicago Bears (football), the Chicago Cubs (baseball), the UCLA Bruins, and the Brown University Bears, and the Coel(IN) College Bears.

Two she-bears make an appearance in II Kings 2:23-24, verses concerning the prophet Elisha frequently cited by atheists and nonbelievers.

"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them."

Though the two verses seem on the surface incompatible with modern Christian values, it should be noted that "little children" is most a mistranslation, and should probably be interpreted as "youths", possibly a gang of juvenile delinquents. Also, God cannot and should not allow his prophets to be mocked without reproach.

This episode is also found in The Divine Comedy where (Hell XXVI), where Dante makes a similitude with the history of Elisha.

Else if bears are not domestic animals and are usually considered a dangerous animal, there are a lot of children books with bears as characters.

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