There are five other shape-shifting species in the world of Rise Above.
Bears - Bjorn
Jaguars - Balam
Lions - Mfalme/Tau
Tigers - Rakshasa
Foxes - Kitsune
Due to the biological differences between these species and werewolves, there are not many of them left. Many of them were on the decline before the outbreak of SRLV1, and those left were not immune to the disease like werewolves were. None of these species can interbreed, or with werewolves. Same species, or humans only.
Werebears are known as bjorn. The term is the word for "bear" in many of the northern European languages, presumed to be the birthplace of the bjorn. At one point in time, the bjorn were strong across northern Europe, Siberia, and North America. But their public outlawing in 1015, by Jarl Eiríkr Hákonarson of Norway, marked the downfall of the powerful era of the bjorn, and they have been on the decline ever since.
A bjorn is born, to any combination of mother and father. As long as the bear-shifter gene has the potential to be present, there is at least a 50% chance that the child will be born a bjorn. Unlike werewolves the ability is entirely inherited, and therefor a bjorn cannot Infect a human. However, unlike werewolves, they have no difficulty in giving birth, and can even give birth to human children.
Like the other non-wolf shifters, bjorn are not associated with astrological events to the degree that their canine counterparts are. They do not suffer from Phases like werewolves do, but instead are associated with the season that they were born in, according to the nearest sun event that they were born. The two equinoxes, and the solstices. Their power grows as they near the event, and becomes the weakest at the opposite date. There are claims that a bjorn's associated season affects their personality, but they cannot be as strictly divided into categories like werewolves can.
Human form and fully bear form are the two most easily achieved states, although the anthropomorphic state can be reached. Unlike Fire blooded state with werewolves, the anthropormophic state of a bjorn, known as berserkir (once called berserkergang) can be voluntarily reached, although it also happens under periods of extreme emotion. Bjorn are famed for their ability to easily tap into berserkir state, such that their entire race is known and feared for it.
Bjorn settle easily into small family groups, not worrying as much about territory as most other species do. Males can be particularly territorial, though, and tend to drive off other species from their areas. They have heightened senses of smell and hearing, as well as unbelievably inhuman strength. Their eyesight is fairly poor, compared to many other shifters, on par with most average humans. Their speed is just slightly above humans, but not by much. But their aging deceleration is top, as is their regenerative abilities, and they have the most sensitive noses of the entire animal kingdom. A werewolf pales in comparison to a bjorn. Like most other non-wolf shifters, they do not have the array of viral resistance that werewolves do. Their hardiness and immune system, coupled with their regenerative abilities, can fight off practically any bacterial infection, but virus resistance is barely better than that of a human. They have shown a weakness to mental Gifts.
As a species, the bjorn have natural regenerative abilities similar to the werewolf Gift Regeneration, but are still susceptible to a shot to the head. They do not have any other special powers similar to Gifts, and they are not afflicted by Callings.
The bjorn are long lived, and tend to raise their children over long periods of time. Their population does not recover from a drastic loss of numbers easily, and after their outlawing in the beginning of the second millenia, many bjorn families retreated to the high mountains of the most northern edges of continents around the world. After the outbreak of SRLV1, many of the remaining bjorn in North America and Russia disappeared. It's rumored that the highest concentration of survivors reside in Scandinavia, and in the highest reaches of the Alps.