Sunday, November 18, 2012

Black Bear

Black Bear | Black Bears are the most common bear found in North America. The black bear's terrain ranges everywhere from Alaska to Canada to Mexico, and there have been occasional sighting of the black bear further into South America. Black bears generally grow to about 180cm tall and weigh around 300 lbs. Extremely large wild male black bears have been seen to grow over 250cm tall! Black bears have been known to run at speeds of 30mph for short periods of time and are good swimmers. The black bear's large claws make them good diggers, and make find hunting for grubs in the dirt a piece of cake!

The black bear is predominantly found in the northern USA and Canada, where the black bear generally eats berries and shoots but also fish, small mammals and the occasional small deer. The black bear can eat around 80 lbs of food a day during the summer months, which the black bear does to prepare itself for hibernating during the winter.

Despite the fact that the American black bear is found in 41 out of 50 states of the USA, and all provinces in Canada, the American black bear rarely comes into contact with humans and therefore tends to have a calmer attitude towards people when compared to other species of bear found in America, and the Asian black bear with whom the American black bear shares a common European ancestor.

Female black bears
generally reach breeding age when they are around 5 years old and are able to produce offspring every couple of years but it is generally dependent on the health of the female black bear. Male black bears tend to reach breeding age at around the same time as the female black bears, however, the male black bears generally have to wait until they have grown and are therefore big enough to win breeding rights with the female black bear.

The American black bear has a very vegetarian diet with only around 15% of the black bears food intake being animal matter. The black bear feeds on nuts, seeds and berries found in the surrounding woodland and is a keen insect hunter eating wasps, ants and bees. The American black bear is a dominant predator in its environment except for when the black bears territory overlaps with the territory of the brown bear, where the two bear species seem to stay out of each others way.

Although black bear populations have been severely declining over the past 100 years due to hunting and habitat loss, recent reports show that black bear populations are finally beginning to increase. Although the black bear is still considered to be endangered in certain areas, in others the black bear seems to be thriving once again. The conservation status of the
black bear has therefore been re-evaluated meaning that the black bear is now considered to be animal that is no longer under immediate threat of extinction.

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