Ursus americanus: American Black Bear

As demonstrated by the shaded areas in the two range maps below Black Bears, which were once ubiquitous to most of North America, occupy only a small fraction of their historical range.

Due to habitat loss and other human factors Black Bears numbers are currently only a fraction of what they once were.

Historical Range:

Current Range:

Vaughan, M.R., and M.R. Pelton. 1995. Black bears in North America, pages 100-103 in E.T. LaRoe III, ed. Our Living Resources. USDI-NBS, Washington, D.C.

Imagine a time of abundance, no not not all you can eat buffets and free soda refills, but a time where animals we share the planet were more than occasional encounters.

10 thoughts on “Ursus americanus: American Black Bear

  1. Bears are relatively common in Southern Oregon where I live. I had no idea their range has decreased so much. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    1. Hi Karen, it is amazing how much range and along with that range numbers of individual the Black Bear has lost to human intervention. We also have bears in our area, Montana, yet only encounter infrequently.

  2. In Switzerland, where I live, there were Brown bears in the past… They hunted them until extinction, as in a lot of other European countries. Now, there are apparently 3 brown bears in Switzerland, that came from Italy… such a sad story! At least there are still black bears in the US, and they are protected in some areas. I still remember the exhilaration of seeing one on my first day visiting Sierra Nevada… what a beautiful animal and moment!!!

    1. HI Mercedes, we have both black and brown bears where we live in Montana. It is always wonderful to see them and we need to fight to protect them here. the Brown (grizzly) bear has made a good comeback in our area but there is a big debate happening now as to when people can start hunting them again. The fight for nature is never won, or so it seems, just another battle to be fought.

  3. I live in Minnesota, just on the edge of where these bears are suppose to be, and I have never seen a black bear. But I suppose they don’t go into the cities much. But when I lived on the farm I didn’t see them either.

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