The brown bear is Europe’s largest terrestrial carnivore, adults reaching a body length of 150-250 cm, a shoulder height of 90-150 cm and a weight of up to 250 kg (males). The fur color is generally brown and often darker or even black on the back and the bear cubs may have a white collar that disappears after the first year of life.
It is a solitary species, so relationships between the individuals, especially adults, are based on mutual avoidance, except in the case of females with cubs or during mating. The bear hibernates during winter, but if the food source is not lacking or the winters are mild, it remains active.
The territory of a male is much larger than that of a female and the territories vary depending on the area, food accessibility and population density.
The bear is an omnivorous animal, satisfying up to 85% of its food needs with vegetation (forest fruits, green plants, succulents, hazelnuts etc.). Due to its diet, the brown bear uses different types of habitats both natural and anthropic, thus being an opportunistic species in terms of obtaining food. During autumn, feeding is essential for survival, the bears gaining enough fat to allow them to enter winter sleep.
The bear is a polygamous species. Mating takes place between April and June, then the female gives birth to 1-3 cubs, weighing 350-500 g in their first days.
Throughout the year, the bear is particularly vulnerable during autumn (intense feeding period for entering hibernation, with growing chances of conflict with the local population) and during spring (females come out of the lair with their cubs and human-bear conflicts may occur).
Large mixed forests in the hill and mountain area, barely disturbed by anthropic activity, providing shelter, silence and food, are essential for the survival of the species. The lair is situated in natural cavities, in fallen trees, under rocks, in isolated areas etc. and the seasonal movement of bear specimens are influenced by the existing trophic resource.
In Romania, the bear population is distributed along the entire forested area of the Romanian Carpathians (93% in the mountain area and 7% in the hill area), occupying a surface of approximately 69,000 km². The national bear population is estimated at about 6,000 specimens, with the highest density occurring in the counties of Harghita, Covasna, Bistriţa, Braşov, Buzău, Mures and Neamţ.