Grizzly Bears (Wild Safari North American Wildlife by Safari Ltd.)

Review and photos by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972

North America abounds with formidable carnivores of all shape and size, from the least weasel to the bald eagle to the American alligator and to the wolf. But no other is associated with raw strength and power as much the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos). At least three subspecies are known to exist: the huge Kodiak bear (U. a. middendorffi) of the islands of the Kodiak archipelago, the peninsular grizzly (U. a. gyas) of southern Alaska, and the mainland grizzly (U. a. horribilis) of western Canada and the northwestern United States.

In this review, I’ll be looking at not one, but two grizzly bear figures, both courtesy of the North American Wildlife series by Safari Ltd. One is sculpted in a walking pose while the other is rearing up on its hind legs. Safari’s website doesn’t specify the subspecies of either figure, but I’m going to assume that they are meant to represent mainland grizzlies. Both share the same colour scheme: dark brown bodies and light brown heads. The noses and mouths are blacks and the eyes are glossy brown lined with black. The insides of the ears are dark brown, and the huge claws and the thick pads on the soles of the feet are dark grey.

The walking grizzly, which has a printed release date of 2015, is sculpted with its right front paw forward and its left hind paw extended in mid-step, giving it a length of slightly over 11 cm. The corners of its lips are upturned, giving the appearance of a friendly smile. Combined with the pose, it looks like this bear is enjoying a casual stroll on a bright sunny day. The sculpted fur looks thick and shaggy and the thick limbs have fearsome-looking claws and thick padding on the soles. This figure also has the signature hump on its shoulders, which is a huge muscle that grants a grizzly its massive upper body strength. While I can’t be certain, I suspect that this individual is supposed to be a female due to the fact that Safari also offers a grizzly cub figure sculpted in a similar walking pose. Together, they make a perfect mother and offspring.

The rearing grizzly was released in 2016. Its sculpting detail and anatomy are on par with the walking one, and as you might imagine, it comes off as considerably more intimidating. Standing firmly at 11 cm tall (roughly 1:30 scale), it really drives home just how much bigger and scarier any bear, let alone an adult grizzly, can appear once it’s up on two legs as opposed to all four. Average male mainland grizzlies weighs anywhere from 250 lbs/113 kg to 600 lbs/272 kg, but some can achieve around 1000 lbs/454 kg. I do believe that this figure is a male due to the fact that it has a noticeably larger head, body, and hind paws than its quadrupedal companion (although the latter has larger front paws and claws). This individual could be interpreted as being about to fight another bear, or perhaps it’s just looking and sniffing around for a meal. Much of a grizzly’s diet consists of various plant matter, but it is strong enough and fast enough to kill anything from small rodents to elk, moose, and even bison. It is also well-suited for scavenging and kleptoparasitism. Coyotes, cougars, and black bears will quickly surrender their food to a marauding grizzly, but wolves are not so passive. When a grizzly confronts a wolf pack, the result is often an intense and brutal battle.

I consider both of these grizzly bear figures to be nothing short of excellent, although I must admit that the rearing one is my favourite. They can be found for sale on many websites, or in gift shops and toy stores that stock Safari products.

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