Posts Tagged ‘black bear’


Nice bear track, complete with tufts of black fur.


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running bear

All over the world, we hear the story of bears. The polar bear may die out due to climate change. The grizzly bear lives only in tiny pockets of its former range in the Lower 48. The spectacled bear is not long for this world, and the giant panda is an avatar of the movement to save endangered species.

American black bears are not among the endangered or threatened, though.  They are doing well in such densely populated states as New Jersey.

They are also doing quite well in the wild and wonderful land of West Virginia. When I was a boy, my grandpa loathed bears. If anyone mentioned a bear popping up near his land, he would always go “There isn’t room enough for me and bear in these woods.”

I don’t know where this bear hatred came from, but his ancestors were small farmers who may have lost hogs or sheep to the odd roving bear.

I remember one year that something knocked over his 200-pound deer feeder. It obviously had to have been a black bear. At that time of year, a bear would have been in hyperphagic mode, and the taste of cracked corn in the deer feeder would have been a pleasant repast on a balmy October day.

He never caught the bear in question, but I knew that he really wanted to. He wanted to shoot it for daring to be in this civilized world.

The reason that bear never got killed is because its kind learned long ago to live with us.

And the best way to do that is to avoid our kind at all costs.

By the time I was born, there were only about 500 bears in the state of West Virginia, and now there are about 10,000. Those 10,000 descend from those 500 survivors, who taught their cubs how to thrive in a land where the guns are loaded.

If you see a bear in West Virginia, well over 9 times out 10, all you’ll see is a black form charging into the timber to get as far from you as possible.

The bear that thrives is the bear that knows that the best thing to do when encountering one of us is to run away.

I know that other black bear populations where they sometimes hunt people or, at the very least, tear up garbage.

But not here, they survive only because they are afraid. Fear makes them good neighbors.

And that is the only way a bear can thrive.



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Maybe a little too close! His butt almost took down the camera!


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Just a raccoon out frogging:

raccoon out frogging

raccoon out frogging ii

And this little creature:

black bear

black bear II

wv black bear

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These are rainforest wolves from the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.

Both bears and wolves eat salmon on their yearly runs.

And it’s also in this area where you can find “white” black bears.

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It’s not often you get to see predation at the zoo, but here it is!


This is an Asiatic black bear, which actually might catch a peacock in the wild.

This was not planned.  I don’t think any zoo wants its visitors see the bird flapping about in its death throes.


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From the CBC:

Autopsy results have confirmed that a bear attack killed a well-known elder in the Xaxli’p First Nation whose remains were found last week near Lillooet, B.C.

After Bernice Evelyn Adolph had been reported missing, police dogs found her remains on Thursday near her remote property about 175 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

There was evidence that Adolph, 72, had been partially consumed by bears, but before the autopsy, police were not sure how she died.

“After reviewing the autopsy results, evidence from the scene, and expertise and information provided by conservation officers, the B.C. Coroners Service was able to confirm a bear attack as the cause of her death,” spokesman Mark Coleman said in a release on Tuesday.

Coleman said no decision about an inquest had been made.

Conservation officers killed four bears Sunday that matched the description of the animal that had fed on the woman.

Samples from the bears were sent to Edmonton for DNA testing to determine which bears were involved in the attack.

Adolph had complained to conservation authorities about bears on her property.

Investigators found evidence that bears had tried to enter her house.

While contact between black bears and humans is common, even in Metro Vancouver, the animals tend to fear humans and fatal attacks are rare.

Two people have died in black bear attacks in B.C. since 2000.

American black bears are generally not dangerous. Normally, if you see one, it is its black behind charging into the undergrowth or up a tree.

I wonder if these bears had been fed and learned to enter homes .  That is normally what causes a black bear to lose its fear of man and possibly attack.

In some part of Canada and the US, bears are baited in to be shot. This is illegal in British Columbia, so it is unlikely that the bear learned to associate people with food from hunters.

However, there are bears, mostly large males, that develop really solid predation skills. They eat a lot of moose calves during the spring, and it is not a large leap from taking moose calves to attacking people.

Where I live, the bears generally avoid people at all costs. Everyone is armed to the teeth. There is a regulated bear season. And the bears know in no uncertain terms that people = death.

I’m sure that people living in the wilds of BC are similar, but it may be the moose calf factor that makes a difference.

We don’t have moose here, so there are no calves for the bears to bother. If the bears get any meat at all, it’s almost always a sheep or a hog– one reason why there aren’t too many sheep farms in West Virginia.

It does seem a bit odd that they would kill four bears to find the real killer, but that might be the only way to be certain that they got him. My guess is it is a him and not a her. If a black bear attacks a person, it is almost always predation from a male bear. It is almost never a female defending her cubs.

Bears don’t hunt in packs, regardless of what you might read in some bad pulp outdoor fiction, so she had only one killer.

However, bears do fight over carcasses, so several bears might have eaten on her.

It’s quite a tragedy that these things happen, but one must keep it in perspective. You are far more likely to be killed by a moose or a white-tailed deer in North America than by a black bear. In my state, I don’t think a single person has been killed by a black bear, and the only attacks have been when someone has done something stupid like trying to pet a wild bear.


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