A touch from legend to facts of the american black bear.

Black bears feature prominently in the stories of some of America’s indigenous peoples. One tale tells of how the black bear was a creation of the Great Spirit, while the grizzly was created by the Evil Spirit.[96] In the mythology of the HaidaTlingitTsimshian people of the Northwest Coast, mankind first learned to respect bears when a girl married the son of black bear Chieftain.[97] In Kwakiutl mythology, black and brown bears became enemies when Grizzly Bear Woman killed Black Bear Woman for being lazy. Black Bear Woman’s children, in turn, killed Grizzly Bear Woman’s own cubs.[98] The Navajo believed that the Big Black Bear was chief among the bears of the four directions surrounding Sun’s house, and would pray to it in order to be granted its protection during raids.[99]

Morris Michtom, the creator of the teddy bear, was inspired to make the toy when he came across a cartoon of Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a black bear cub tied to a tree.[100] Winnie the Pooh was named after Winnipeg, a female black bear cub that lived at London Zoo from 1915 until her death in 1934.[101] A black bear cub who in the spring of 1950 was caught in the Capitan Gap fire was made into the living representative of Smokey Bear, the mascot of the United States Forest Service.[102]

The American black bear is the mascot of The University of Maine and Baylor University, where the university houses two live black bears on campus.

Sleeping Bear Dunes is named after a Native American legend, where a female bear and her cub swam across Lake Michigan. Exhausted from their journey, the bears rested on the shoreline and fell sound asleep. Over the years, the sand covered them up, creating a huge sand dune.

Attacks on humansEdit

See also: Bear attack and Bear danger

Although an adult bear is quite capable of killing a human, American black bears typically avoid confronting humans when possible. Unlike grizzly bears, which became a subject of fearsome legend among the European settlers of North America, black bears were rarely considered overly dangerous, even though they lived in areas where the pioneers had settled. Black bears rarely attack when confronted by humans, and usually limit themselves to making mock charges, emitting blowing noises and swatting the ground with their forepaws. The number of black bear attacks on humans is higher than those of the brown bear in North America, though this is largely because the black species considerably outnumbers the brown rather than greater aggressiveness.

The incidence of bear attacks in parks and campgrounds declined after the introduction of bear-resistant garbage cans and other reforms

Compared to brown bear attacks, aggressive encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than submitting. Unlike grizzlies, female black bears do not display the same level of protectiveness to their cubs, and seldom attack humans in their vicinity.[53]However, occasionally, attacks by protective mothers do occur.[32] The worst recorded fatality incident occurred in May 1978, in which a black bear killed three teenagers who were fishing in Algonquin Park in Canada.[103]Another exceptional, spree-like attack occurred in August 1997 in Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park in Canada, when an emaciated black bear attacked a child and mother, killing the mother as well as an adult man who tried to intervene. This bear was shot while mauling a fourth victim.[104][105]

The majority of attacks happened in national parks, usually near campgrounds, where the bears had become habituated to close human proximity and food conditioned.[53] Out of 1,028 incidents of black bears acting aggressively toward people, 107 resulted in injury, were recorded from 1964 to 1976 in theGreat Smoky Mountains National Park, and occurred mainly in tourist hotspots where people regularly fed the bears handouts.[103]In almost every case where open dumps or handouts that had previously attracted black bears were ceased, the amount of aggressive encounters with bears have decreased precipitously over time.[32] However, in the aforementioned case of the spree attack in Liard River Hot Springs, the attacking bear was believed to have been previously almost fully dependent on a local garbage dump that had closed and was starving as a result of the loss of that food source.[104] Attempts to relocate bears are typically unsuccessful, as black bears seem to be able to return to their home range even without familiar landscape cues.[32]

On October 27, 2009, Canadian wildlife experts and managers for Cape Breton Highlands National Park thought Taylor Mitchell‘s suspect of her predatory attack on the Skyline Trail was a black bear at first, but they soon realized it was a pack ofcoyotes.[106]

Livestock and crop predationEdit

A limitation of food sources in early spring and wild berry and nut crop failures during summer months may be contributing factors to black bears regularly feeding from commercial human-based food sources. Crops are frequently eaten by these bears, especially during autumn hyperphagia when natural foods are scarce. Favored crops may include applesoats and corns.[5] Black bears can do extensive damage in some areas of the northwestern United States by stripping the bark from trees and feeding on thecambium. Livestock depredations by black bears occur mostly in spring. Though black bears have the capacity to (and occasionally do) hunt adult cattle and horses, they seem to prefer smaller, more easily overwhelmed prey such as sheepgoatscalves, and pigs. They normally kill by biting the neck and shoulders, though they may break the neck or back of prey with blows from the paws. Evidence of a bear attack includes claw marks and is frequently found on the neck, back, and shoulders of larger animals. Surplus killing of sheep and goats are common. Bears have been known to frighten livestock herds over cliffs, causing injuries and death to many animals; whether or not this is intentional is not known.[86] Occasionally, pets, especiallydogs, which are most prone to harass a bear, are killed by black bears.[107] It is not recommended to use unleashed dogs as a deterrent from bear attacks. Although large, aggressive dogs sometimes cause a bear to run, if pressed, angry bears frequently turn the tables and end up chasing the dog in return. A bear in pursuit of a pet dog has the potential to threaten both canid and human lives.[108][109]

Bear awareness in townsEdit

In an effort to help prevent conflicts with bears, many towns in British Columbia developed bear aware programs. The main premise of these programs is to teach humans to manage foods that attract bears. Keeping garbage securely stored, harvesting fruit when ripe, securing livestock behind electric fences, and storing pet food indoors are all measures promoted by bear aware programs. Revelstoke, British Columbia is a community that demonstrates the success of this approach. Before the community had an education program, an average of 27 bears were killed in  Revelstoke each year; after the program began, the average mortality has dropped to just 7 bears per year.

Black Bear Tracks:

Often mistaken as humanoid tracks. 

Some Cryptid researchers lacking proper awareness are quick to assume fales conclusions toward the identity of bear tracks believing them to be the mysterious Bigfoot or Sasquatch.

Guess again my friend. Learn your known wildlife before seeking the unknown.

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