There’s more to the story of grizzlies than most of us are aware, for populations of this species—Ursus arctos, also commonly called the brown bear—can be found outside North America from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, west to Scandinavia and all the way south to India.

Some hold out in the mountains of Spain, France, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, western China, and a number of other countries across Eurasia.

It is a tribute to these bears’ toughness, intelligence, and adaptability that they have survived within such a wide array of landscapes and climates. Even so, few people would ever picture these animals in the Gobi Desert, a vast, unforgiving realm of stone and sand where temperatures hit 115 degrees Fahrenheit or more in summer, minus 40 Fahrenheit in winter, and just 2 to 8 inches of rain falls annually. After all, in Mongolian, gobi means “waterless place.”

Grizzly researchers have established a new nonprofit organization, the Gobi Bear Fund, to make sure these hungry desert-dwelling bears on the outermost edge of existence are being fed, protected and studied. More.