AMERICAN BLACK BEAR

The smallest, but most widespread of North America's three Ursid species, the American black bear is not always black – its fur ranges in colour from cinnamon or blue-grey in the west to black or brown in the east. One feature common to all races of this highly-adaptable creature, however, is its varied diet. The ultimate opportunists, black bears feed on anything from grasses, roots and berries to ants, spawning salmon, deer fawns and human garbage. Remember that habituated bears can become dangerous pests and may have to be killed – never feed them, or leave out food while camping in the wilderness.

VITAL STATISTICS

American black bear

Ursus americanus

 

Length 1.4-1.9m

Weight 40-300kg

Did you know... male black bears might have a home range of over 200 square kilometres.

RANGE & HABITAT

American black bears are most often found in forests (and are adept tree climbers), but you can also encounter them in mountains, swamps and coastal areas. They're found right across North America, including northern Mexico.

STATUS

The American black bear is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Human conflict is a growing threat. Legal sport hunting harvests up to 50,000 bears annually (from an estimated total population of 850,000- 950,000).

CONSERVATION

Defenders of the Wild works to manage and connect isolated bear habitat in Florida, while the Wildlife Conservation Society is tackling human-bear conflict issues. Bear Conservation campaigns for the welfare and protection of bears.

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Wildlife Wishlist was founded by zoologist, conservationist and award-winning travel writer and photographer William Gray. Sharing his passion for wildlife and recommendations for responsible travel, Will has spent around 30 years tracking down the world's best wildlife holiday experiences.

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