Reaching up to 5 feet in height at the shoulder and weighing upwards of 1,000 pounds, brown bears are among the largest in the world. In fact, the Kodiak bear of Alaska, a subspecies of the brown bear, is the largest.
They can run up to 35 mph, about 5 times faster than the average human, and have powerful paws and razor-sharp claws, which they use to dig for food – and maul their prey. As if that all wasn’t enough to make them lethal predators, brown bears can also climb at an alarmingly fast pace.
Climbing, however, isn’t always a necessity because they can jump as well!
Bears are capable of jumping around six or seven feet into the air. And though this isn’t all that impressive as predators go (Siberian tigers can jump twelve feet), it’s more than enough to allow them to reach the forest’s lowest branches to grab a snack.
This ability was recently demonstrated by Rocco, a resident of Bärenwald Müritz, a bear sanctuary in Germany. Visitors to the sanctuary captured Rocco on video standing on his hind legs, hopping into the air to pull apples from a tree.
“Ripe fruits from a tree were so appealing that Rocco could not resist,” the sanctuary explained in their Instagram post. “Since the sweetest fruits often hang topmost, he showed a strong willingness to reach the fruits. … In the end, he was rewarded with some delicious apples.”
Sanctuary Workers Call Rocco the Bear ‘Cautious and Sensitive’
Watching the video of Rocco hopping for apples, it’s clear he’s a happy, healthy brown bear. Sadly, however, he wasn’t always so carefree. Just a few years ago, Rocco’s life looked very different.
In June 2019, an ambulance arrived at the bear sanctuary in Müritz. In it, there slept a traumatized, starved, lonely brown bear who rescuers saved from a private estate in Elbasan, Albania.
The man had purchased the brown bear as a cub in 2011, housing him in a tiny, rusty cage with a concrete floor. The baby bear had no access to his natural habitat and no protection from the elements aside from the metal bars surrounding him.
There, the cub was kept captive in his unsuitable home for eight horrible years until finally, “caring” for the bear became too expensive. Thankfully, the sanctuary came to the rescue, transporting the distressed bear over 1,000 miles to his new home in Müritz.
“Rocco’s arrival at our sanctuary was very emotional,” the sanctuary shared on its official website. “He was very nervous… The long trip, the new environment, the smell of others bears – it all demands time to process.”
Over time, Rocco slowly settled into his new life. He remains “very cautious and sensitive” to this day. However, his days are now filled with play and exploration, just as they should be.