American Black Bear

American Black Bear

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(Ursus americanus). Patient Number 23-1624.

Date of admission: Nov 2, 2023.
Reason for admission: Orphaned and Emaciated.

Patient History:

The American black bear is the most widely distributed bear species in North America and is the world’s most common bear species. American black bears continue to inhabit much of their historical Canadian range. The preferred habitat consists of sparsely settled hardwood forested areas. American black bears are omnivores, but up to 85% of their diet consists of vegetation. When emerging from hibernation in the spring, black bears will feed on carrion and newborn ungulates. During the summer, they will feed on honey and a variety of plant species with their diet consisting primarily of fruits and berries. During the autumn months, black bears actively search out nuts particularly, hazelnuts, acorns, and pine nuts. If food is abundant, bears can be known to feed in groups

Black bear mating takes place in June, July, and August, and pairs will likely only remain together for a few hours or days, the remainder of the time they are typically solitary. Average home ranges are 3 to 40 square kilometers, and are typically exclusive, except a male range may be larger and overlap with females during mating seasons. The female has a gestational period of approximately 220 days, with cubs being born in the den between January and February. The average litter size is two, though can be upwards of five in some cases. Cubs are fully weaned by 6-8 months but will remain with their mothers for the first year. Additionally, most female black bears only mate every two years. The average lifespan of a black bear is 20 to 25 years.

This black bear cub joins us from the Westlock area after being found wandering the town in very poor condition. He was without his mother, and too thin to successfully go into hibernation, so Fish and Wildlife officers brought him to AIWC. Upon examination, we found that he only weighed 13 kg (28 lbs), which was less than half what a cub his age should weigh. We will be overwintering this cub at our facility, and he will be released near his original location at the end of June 2024. Thank you for helping to support his care!