About Black Bears
live on all major land masses of the world, except Africa,
Australia and Antarctica.
Black bears now live in California. The last Brown bear in
California was shot in the 1920's. It's ironic to note that
the Brown bear is the featured symbol on the California state
seal and flag. Grizzly bears are one type of Brown bear. Brown
bears have been exterminated throughout the United States
and are currently only found in the contiguous United States
in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. Some Brown bear
re-introduction programs similar to those for the wolf are
bears come in a range of colors from blonde to brown to black.
Although there is a mix of colors in every Black bear population
there are more black colored Black bears on the East Coast
with the color shifting to more brown colored Black bears
on the West Coast of North America. Black bears are tremendously
adaptive and are found in all of Canada, 32 states in the
United States, and even 5 states in Mexico. Regardless of
the color of a bear's coat, he is most likely a Black bear
if you are in the contiguous United States.
bears are by far the most numerous bear in North America.
Black bears hibernate longer in the colder climates of northern
latitudes than their cousins in the warmer climates of southern
latitudes. Cubs are nurtured by their mother through their
second winter. This means sows can only give birth every other
year. Even with this slow reproduction rate, the black bear
population is now stable and growing.
Lakes has about 30 Black bears that live within the city limits.
While in Mammoth, we visited with my friend Steve Searles
known in Mammoth as "The Bear Man". Steve has developed
the first non-lethal system of managing bears and he works
for the city as the Wildlife Management Officer. Steve utilizes
bang devices and rubber bullets delivered via revolver or
shot gun as well as vocal commands and body postures to communicate
with wild bears that are not exhibiting acceptable behavior.
Steve has started his program of non-lethal management of
bears, there have been no attacks by bears in Mammoth and
countless bears have been saved from being shot. The bears
literally owe their lives to Steve. This system benefits humans
and bears, since a problem bear that is shot usually has its
territory taken over by another wild bear that soon becomes
a problem as well. By "educating" a wild bear on
what is acceptable and what isn't, humans and bears can coexist
bears live in the Mammoth area than would without humans.
This is due to the fact bears scavenge human food. Steve is
slowly cutting off this artificial food supply, through the
use of bear proof dumpsters. The decrease in food is causing
bears to have a decreased birth rate, and this is bringing
their numbers back to a more natural level.
bears should be treated with the utmost respect at all times,
but very rarely attack. You are 1,000's of times more likely
to be killed from exposure to sunlight than be killed by a
leave food in a car or camper. Bears are very intelligent
and have an excellent sense of smell. Their claws are extremely
good at ripping open cars to get food. I've observed bears
breaking into cars before, and the bear reminded me of gigantic
ever try to retrieve food taken by a Black bear. Bears firmly
believe that "possession is nine-tenths of the law",
and they will bite or claw you to defend "their"
food. Black bears can easily out run humans, and they can
climb trees as fast as most humans can run on flat ground.
So be respectful!