Black Bears - Ursus americanus
The Black Bear is the most common member of the bear family. Despite its common name, the Black Bear exhibits considerable variation in coloration, both among individuals from a single litter, and between populations from separate geographical regions. Black Bears can reach 5 to 6 feet in length and weigh between 200 to 600 pounds. In the wild, they can live to an average life span of about 20 years.
While most populations in the west of the American Black Bearís range have black fur, in the east, many populations have lighter cinnamon or yellow-brown coats. In addition, some populations found along the Pacific coast have grey-blue fur, while in British Colombia, Canada, about 10% of the population have an entirely white coat.
Historically, the American Black Bear has suffered from heavy persecution due to fear and to prevent loss of livestock and crops, as well as from hunting for sport, meat and fur. In addition, the ongoing spread of urban development and roads has claimed many parts of this speciesí habitat. Fortunately, their highly adaptable nature and tolerance of humans, has allowed it to exploit human food sources and to withstand the degradation and fragmentation of its habitat. In addition, despite extensive legal hunting in the US and Canada, regulation has proved effective, and the majority of American Black Bear populations are either stable or increasing.
Visit the Polar Bear and Brown Bear pages to see photos of these awesome animals as well.
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