August 11th, 2017|Tags: |0 Comments


By Doyle Irvin, American Forests

America has a serious problem, and it’s that black bears don’t get enough love. “Who cares about black bears?” a putative hater might ask. Grizzlies and polar bears hog all of the spotlight, and some people theorize that it might because they could trifle with your mortality. People do love their adrenaline, and given that black bears are more likely to run away than get up into your business, well, it makes them supposedly boring. They’re lovers, not fighters, people! (Most of the time. Please don’t go hugging strange bears).

We’re here to tell you why you should up your love for the black bear.

They Actually Exist

Unless you live in Alaska or certain parts of the Rocky Mountains, you are never going to run into a grizzly or polar bear. They just don’t exist in your local ecosystem! Black bears, on the other hand, are everywhere. There are estimated to be 600,000 black bears in North America, and over 300,000 in the U.S. alone. This map above shows their range, covering 40 states!

They Are Pragmatic

Think how much easier life could be! Photo credit: Valerie Ucumari

Black bears adapt to their surroundings very well, and that’s part of why they are so widespread. They exist in a wide range of habitat types from Louisiana to Canada, though they prefer the forest. They eat everything: fruits, nuts, insects, rodents and salmon. They’ll eat your pizza crusts too, carb-watchers, so beware what you leave behind. That being said, it’s a myth that bears “never go back” once they’ve tasted human foods — what they like is the ease of access, not the food itself.

They’re Loners, Just Like Me

Actually, no, I’m comfortable over here. Credit: Tara Lynn

Except for mothers and cubs, black bears tend to want to be left alone. Sometimes, if there is a huge availability of food available, they’ll tolerate each other’s presence. Hey, that sounds familiar…

They Are Much Faster Than You

These guys probably aren’t running 30+ miles per hour yet, but they’ll get there one day. Credit: Moira Fenner

Black bears can sprint at more than 30 miles per hour! They can only do this for a short time, but still, that’s twice as fast as the average human, if not more so.

They Will Break Into Your Car And Drink Your Beer

Nope, that’s not where they keep the coors. Credit: Barcroft

As if being faster and more resourceful than you wasn’t enough, they are also competent thieves. Black bears will definitely work their way into your car, and frequently figure out how to use door handles. Then, because beer has a calorific odor just like anything else, they’ll drink all your beer before stumbling away to find a tree to sleep it off in.

They Love Trees Too

Does it get better than this? No, no it doesn’t. Credit: Tim Lumley

Their non-retractable claws make them naturals up in the canopy. I mean, could there be a bear more perfect for American Forests? We love trees and so do black bears. They even fight in trees! In a tree fight, the bear on the bottom has the advantage, because the one on top generally has a much harder time hanging on and has to face downwards to retaliate.

These reasons are why we at American Forests couldn’t do without black bears! They’re just the best, in my opinion.