Which bear is truly the best bear?


Dylan Barbeau, Features Writer

In the hit television show “The Office,” Jim Halpert, played by John Krasinski, in an attempt to mimic Dwight Schrute, famously asked which bear is the best bear. Schrute, played by Rainn Wilson, responds by saying the question is stupid, and Halpert replies with ‘Wrong, black bear.’ However, is the black bear truly the best bear at survival?

The first bears that are eliminated for consideration are pandas, sun bears, and sloth bears. All these bears are too specialized for a specific diet to be considered the overall best bear. The worst one is easily pandas. Despite being cute, they are terrible when it comes to reproducing. Their diet is nearly exclusive to the low-energy plant bamboo, which actually hinders them in the long run. Sloth bears are probably the best out of this group as they are the most generalist out of these bears, and they can kill a tiger given the chance.

The next contender is the polar bear. While they also have a heavily specialized diet, these bears are easily the best of the specialized bears based on their size alone. It also helps that unlike the previous three, there is no competition for food, as the terrestrial predator closest to its size range is the arctic fox, which is a fraction of the size. However, their nearly exclusive diet of meat is problematic with climate change decreasing their hunting range.

The penultimate bear is the brown bear, which includes grizzlies. They are more widespread than polar bears and are omnivorous, which means they are better at adapting to new situations such as climate change. However, they are too big to go unnoticed in suburban areas, so they can’t be the true best bear.

This leaves us only black bears, which are the most capable of succeeding in the modern world. They can pretty much eat everything, are in the size range to exist in suburbs without much detection, and are smart enough to pick locks. 

Whether intentional or not, Jim was right. The black bear is best.