Interviewer: So how many bears can we find today and are any of them in danger of extinction?
Alison: Well I'll answer your first question first. There are eight species of bear in all; among them the American Black Bear and the Brown Bear - from which evolved the newest species of bear - the Polar Bear.
Interviewer: So how old is the Polar Bear?
Alison: Oh, he's a relative newcomer - just 20,000 years old.
Interviewer: And could you tell us a little about them? Which is the largest bear, for instance?
Alison: Well, the largest bear existing today is either the Polar Bear or the Brown Bear.
Interviewer: Right ... Don't we know?
Alison: Well, it depends which criteria you use. The Polar Bear is the heaviest; the male weighs up to 1,500 pounds but his narrow body actually makes him look smaller than the much more robust Brown Bear.
Interviewer: So the Brown Bear appears the biggest.
Interviewer: And the smallest?
Alison: Well, the Sun Bear is the smallest of the eight species. They only weigh between 60 and 145 pounds.
Interviewer: That makes him a comparative junior!
Alison: Yes. And then next we have the so-called Giant Panda ... but that's a small bear too, comparatively speaking.
Interviewer: And are all bears meat eaters?
Alison: No, not at all. In fact the Giant Panda is almost entirely herbivorous living on a diet of 30 types of bamboo.
Interviewer: Oh, yes of course. Pandas are famous for that.
Alison: And another interesting bear is the Sloth Bear which eats insects, particularly termites. He can turn his mouth into a tube and suck the insects out of their nests.