For some reason, the mighty Ursus seemed to make a ton of headlines in 2014.
Whether they were being cute, captivating, or even a little scary, bear stories grabbed your attention in a unique way – often because the cameras were rolling.
These are the top bear videos of 2014.
Mama bear rescues baby off highway (see above)
A video showing a mother bear pulling her cub off a busy British Columbia highway warmed the hearts of people around the world–even the professional tornado chaser who filmed it.
Ricky Forbes and his friends were headed from Canmore to Radium Hot Springs for the Victoria Day long weekend this past May. Halfway between Banff and Radium on Highway 97, they saw a makeshift sign that said bears often appeared on the road.
They set up on the other side of the highway, and within two minutes, they saw a baby jump over the curb.
It was only moments later that the mama bear grabbed her cub and pulled it back over the barrier to safety, all while one of its siblings looked on.
The “Grizzly bear photographer”
The photo of a curious bear staring into the eyepiece of a camera quickly became a viral sensation this past November – but the shot only captured part of the story.
Long-time photographer Jim Lawrence had set up the camera at an opening in the brush to get a shot of the bear fishing for kokanee salmon in the river. The bear in question made his way up the bank towards the camera and that is when Lawrence went back to his truck, parked a short distance away, to get another camera.
That’s when the snapshotting Yogi decided to have a look for himself.
“They say intelligent species are curious and the big bear was no exception,” said Lawrence.
Black bear burned by fire nursed back to health
A black bear cub burned in a massive Washington state wildfire over the summer has been moved to a rehabilitation facility in Idaho for the winter.
The cub, named Cinder, was found under a horse trailer in north-central Washington’s Methow Valley, where the largest fire in state history had burned about 400 square miles and destroyed 300 homes.
Her paws were so badly burned she was walking on her elbows. Yet thanks to the help of the folks at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in California, the bear was slowly nursed back to health.
Panda at Toronto zoo goes bear-bogganing
A giant panda playing in snow at the Toronto Zoo took the Internet by storm this past November.
Zoo staff captured “Da Mao” on video Monday playing outside during a snowfall – the beginning of the same weather system that dumped nearly six feet of snow in Buffalo, New York.
“Our cameras caught giant panda Da Mao ‘bear-bogganing’ in his outdoor exhibit,” zoo staff said in the video’s description on YouTube.
“Perhaps he’s discovered a new winter sport?”
Bear cub wanders into Oregon drugstore
Shoppers at a southern Oregon drug store could bear-ly believe their eyes (last time, we promise) after a brown bear cub walked into the store this past October.
Luckily, they had cellphone cameras rolling as the bear cub was captured wandering the halls of an Ashland, Oregon Rite Aid.
After several adorable minutes, police were able to capture the curious cub – ironically, inside a shopping basket.
Baby bear takes over golf green at Fairmont Hot Springs resort
One bear cub decided to spend a little time on the links this past September.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your love of cute baby bears interrupting your afternoon golf game) he had no intention of shooting a round.
A baby bear interrupted a golf game at the Fairmont Hot Springs resort to have some fun with the flag, even taking one of the balls as he left the green.
Up-close and personal with rare polar bear triplets
Ouwehands Dierenpark in the Netherlands celebrated the rare birth of a polar bear triplets this year.
The wildlife park in Rhenen said proud mother Freedom gave birth to her cubs near the end of November.
Keepers were able to keep a close watch on the happy family via close circuit cameras – and so were viewers around the world.
Curious polar bear gets tranquilized
A two-year-old female polar bear paid for her curiosity when she was shot with a tranquilliser dart after constantly showing up at an oil depot facility looking for food.
The 200-kilogram (440-pound) animal was transported away via helicopter earlier this month from the Toboyskoye oil field in the Nenets Autonomous Region of the Russian Arctic.
The polar bear had been carried away three times previously but kept returning in the hope she would be given further milk and canned meat.
Bear cub reunited with its mother after falling into dumpster
A young bear cub was reunited with his mother after falling into a dumpster in Pasedena, California.
An NBC Los Angeles news helicopter tracked the entire ordeal this past October as the anxious mother hovered close to where her young cub had fallen in.
Meanwhile, wildlife agents and police waited nearby, faced with a delicate predicament: how to rescue the baby bear from the confines of the dumpster, without drawing the ire of mom?
Overheated bear takes a dip in family’s backyard pool
For many people, there’s nothing better on a hot afternoon than a nice cold dip in the pool.
There’s at least one black bear in Southern California who would wholeheartedly agree.
Footage shot by the homeowner shows the bear lazing about on the pools steps, playing in the water and looking like any other contented bather.
Overheated bear takes a dip in kiddie pool
Speaking of bears trying to beat the heat, here’s one brown bear who cares even less what apparatus he happens to find himself cooling off in.
When Toshi Miyamoto first heard his daughter shouting “big bear!” from the living room this past Sunday, he thought she must be referring to the place.
But sure enough, when the San Gabriel Valley resident looked out at his backyard, he got the shock of his life: a brown bear, lazily rolling about in his family’s kiddie pool.
That’s when he got out his camera.
Black bear in zoo saves drowning crow
It may be a big bear, but it appears like this bear’s got an even bigger heart.
In a viral video posted by Aleksander Medveš, a black bear in the Budapest Zoo in Hungary was captured by tourists as it rescued a crow this past August.
Of course, there’s is the chance that this bear was thinking about having it for dinner before changing its mind.
Bear attacks Santa Claus
Even Jolly Ol’ St. Nick had a bit of a tangle with a bear this year.
Luckily for children around the world, the Chris Cringle in question was only a lawn gnome.
A California photographer captured this amusing video after setting up several remote cameras in the Angeles National Forest just this past week.
-With files from the Associated Press