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Swiming through the gallery since 1896

Master of the taiga forest

Siberian Brown Bear_3_Manchester Museum_c Paul Cliff

The Siberian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) lives in the taiga and is central to a highly developed cult amongst some indigenous people. The Nivkhs and the Khanty believe that the bear is their ancestor, the master of the taiga and ensures people’s well-being. In Russian folklore the bear is seen as ‘the one who knows where honey is’. Bears are legally hunted for meat, fat and fur under strict regulations. However, many bears are killed illegally for their body parts because they are in high demand in Chinese medicine.