Why Didn't We Domesticate Bears?

February 15, 2024

Bears are wild animals and they are fierce. Even a docile one can kill you with its claws or teeth, and it isn’t uncommon for them to hurt humans by accident or in a moment of anger. That is why it is so important not to touch or disturb them in the wild. It can be the difference between life and death, especially if the animal is protecting its territory or cubs.

To be domesticated, an animal must do something useful for humans. A few examples of this are food, work or companionship. Animals like cats, dogs, horses and cattle are domesticated because they can be used to provide food, do work and act as companions.

Another key factor is whether the animal has a family structure in its wild population, or the potential to create one. Horses are domesticated because they have a stallion/mare hierarchy, and the ability to breed quickly. Zebras, on the other hand, don’t have this, and so would be more difficult to domesticate. Bears don’t have this either and so cannot be domesticated.

Bears do have some domestication potential though. They can be trained to track rodents in agricultural fields, and this is a useful and important skill for some people. They can also be tamed and trained to play with children in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. But, as kingledion pointed out in their answer, keeping a bear as a pet is incredibly hard and time consuming. It is a full time job, and even with training they will need constant supervision. And it is likely that any bear kept as a pet will come into contact with human diseases, which could lead to a wide variety of problems.

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