• Scientific Name: Ursus californicus
  • Date of Extinction: 1911
  • Last Known Living Bear: "Monarch"
  • Date of California State Flag/Bear Flag Adoption: 1911
  • Adopted as California State Animal: 1953


Monarch, the last known California Grizzly Bear had some what of an interesting ending. Captured in the Ojai Valley near Ventura in 1889 after William Randolph Hearst sent one of his reporters off to find one. After several days, of hunting, the bear was found, captured and hauled off to San Francisco. Originally, it was supposed to be put on display at Golden Gate Park, but they rejected him, and until 1894 Monarch was held at Woodward's Gardens. When the Midwinter Fair came to San Francisco in 1894, Monarch was at last brought to Golden Gate Park and lowered into a huge concrete pit prepared for him.

After a few years, Monarch showed signs of loneliness and it was feared he might die. Again Hearst stepped in and purchased a female silver tip grizzly from Idaho. When the female arrived in 1903, Monarch immediately showed his interest. The female was placed in an adjoining cage and Monarch plowed the ground until he had dug a trench big enough for two bears his size but without attracting any attention from the female, he proceeded to lie down in the hole and gaze longingly though the bars. Eventually (After an attack on a photographer), the two bears were put in the same cage and they romped and played together for over an hour, but finally the female decided Monarch was getting too familiar and she reared up on her hind legs and boxed his ears. Animal courtship being what it is, Monarch finally established a relationship and his descendents can be found at the zoo.

When he died in 1911, he was stuffed and placed in the California Academy of Science. He was also the model for the modern state flag.

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