American Black Bear

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In yesterday’s post I stated that I was done showing images of Coastal Brown Bears. But that didn’t mean that I had no more bear images to post. Today, I’m offering one more. This is an American Black Bear.

During our last afternoon at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge, our guide took us on a short boat ride on a local lake. As we approached the lakeshore we saw a Black Bear standing in deep grass at water’s edge. It watched us calmly for several minutes before fading into nearby heavy vegetation.

American Black Bears used to have a range that included the entire North American continent. They have been extirpated in much of the United States but continue to thrive in many locations. Southern Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains, within close proximity to our Tucson home, have a resident population of these bears.

Black Bears are distant cousins of Coastal Brown Bears. Their lineage split off from Brown Bears about six million years ago. They are smaller than Coastal Brown Bears, although some males may weigh up to 600 pounds (about 272 kilograms). Males of this species are significantly larger than females. The bear that I photographed is a robust individual and I’m guessing that he is a male.

This bear lives up to his species’ name in that he is black, but Black Bears come in varied colors ranging from black to nearly white.

Black Bears are generally timid in the presence of humans and usually give people a wide berth. However, there are exceptions to this rule. In areas where humans live in close proximity to bear populations the bears may become habituated to humans’ presence, raising the opportunity for unfortunate encounters. Black Bears — like Coastal Brown Bears — are highly intelligent opportunists that will seek to exploit every possible opportunity to obtain food. That may include visiting humans’ garbage dumps and raiding camp sites. There are human/Black Bear confrontations every year in the United States with more people being injured during such confrontations than in encounters with Coastal Brown Bears or Grizzly Bears.

One reason for these confrontations is that many people seem to think that Black Bears are cute and friendly. Visit Youtube and type “cute bear” into the search engine and you’ll find iPhone clips of people interacting with bears in incredibly foolish ways.

Image made with a Canon R5, Canon 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS L zoom lens, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 1250, f7.1 @ 1/640, ! 2/3 stops exposure compensation.

3 Replies to “American Black Bear”

  1. picpholio says:

    Best not to fool around with any kind of bear I think 🙂

  2. Ronald Smith says:

    Enjoyed all your recent brown bear photos and the great info on the black bear. Thanks so much.

  3. burrdoo says:

    Great shot of a magnificent animal.

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