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The Real Bears and Colts Go Head to Head

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2007 – As the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts get ready to face off in this year’s Super Bowl match up, analysts and sports enthusiasts alike are hard at work prophesizing who the victor will be. But instead of looking at the teams based on their offensive firepower or defensive might, World Wildlife Fund has decided to explore how this match up would turn out in the wild. Put up against each other head-to-head, who would win in a battle, a bear or a colt?

A colt is defined as a young male horse under the age of four. Youth is an advantage for the colt – it’s considered to be at its prime at four years old and has already reached its mature body weight, which could be as much as 1,200 pounds.

On their feet, horses have been clocked at speeds of up to 50 mph at full gallop, and their endurance is proven over time. They were the most popular mode of transportation for people traveling long distances before the invention of the automobile.

As a horse, a colt is considered a prey animal with a fight or flight instinct. Its first reaction when faced with danger is to run away and it won’t attack another animal unprovoked. However, horses are also known to stand their ground and defend themselves or their offspring if necessary.

Bears on the other hand are predators and have the strength and agility to overcome their prey, which usually consists of small animals. As omnivores, bears can also survive on vegetation when prey is scarce.  Some bear species face serious threats of extinction in the wild due to wide-spread habitat loss and poaching for their body parts.

Most bears have large heads, bulky bodies and powerful limbs. They’re usually relatively slow walking animals but can run at speeds of 35 mph if nessecary. While bears vary in weight based on their species – there are eight different kinds of bears – some are massive. Brown bears, for example, can weigh as much as 1,600 pounds.

Overall, while speed, endurance and sheer numbers goes to the colts, power, strength and agility remains with the bears.

"Bears would likely win any encounter in the wild, but that's only if they could catch the colts," said World Wildlife Fund's president and CEO Carter Roberts.  "And there's always a chance that a bear wouldn't come out of hibernation, which would cause them to forfeit any match."

For more information on these and other animals in the wild and what you can do to protect them, visit www.worldwildlife.org.