Bear attacks on humans still pretty rare occurrences

In the last two decades there have been a number of bear attacks on humans and some of these have been fatal. However they are still relatively rare occurrences. Allow me to clarify several points regarding bear behaviour.

Nine times out of 10, a Black Bear which chooses to charge will not make contact with the individual. By this I mean that in almost every case a bear will bluff-charge, but not completely follow through with an all-out attack. I have been quite close to Black Bears and have only encountered a problem once.

Bear Poaching - it's everyone's problem

Although the black bear has yet to be added to the endangered species list here in Canada, its inclusion to this sorry document may be approaching much sooner than many realize. Scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about international trade in bears and bear parts in Asia, which are further endangering several species in China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, the island of Taiwan and Hainan.

As a result of the huge demand for bear gallbladders and paws, the few remaining wild bears in these areas are in jeopardy. Many of the Asian bear populations are currently in serious trouble, existing only in isolated populations. Because of the depleted bear populations in Asia, they are harder to come by. Therefore suppliers have been forced to branch out and look for new and plentiful stocks. And here is where Canada's black bear enters the scene.

Ontario's Ghost Bears

Polar Bears in Ontario? No way, you say? Well it's true. But most people have a very hard time including Polar Bears and Ontario in the same sentence. And yet, Polar Bears can be found at certain times of the year less than 150 kilometres north of Cochrane, Ontario. The area known as the James Bay Lowlands has a fairly regular population of Polar Bears. In fact, studies initiated by the Ministry of Natural Resources back in the 1980's revealed many more Polar Bears inhabiting Ontario than was first thought.

Sleeping Black Beauties

Black BearWith the onset of colder temperatures, many of the forests' animals realize that it is time to hibernate. One such forest dweller, the Black Bear (Ursus Americanus) hibernates for several months each winter.

The time of hibernation for the Black Bear as well as other animals is dependent on geographical location. For instance, the further north the bear lives, the earlier in the season the biological alarm will sound, telling the bear to begin to den for winter. Black Bears, like grizzlies, are normally very solitary mammals except around abundant food sources and during courtship and mating when they tend to spend a great deal of time together. Once mating has taken place they begin to drift apart, eventually going then-separate ways.  Usually the entire process of courtship, spending time together, copulation (mating) and drifting apart takes approximately 1-2 weeks. A rather short love affair one must admit, although hopefully now with the female impregnated, a fascinating biological phenomenon is already taking place inside her.


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