American Black Bear

American Black Bear

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(Ursus americanus). Patient Number 24-192.

Date of admission: May 14, 2024.
Reason for admission: Orphaned and Injured.

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 only 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 was brought to AIWC after being found alone in a roadside ditch near Rocky Mountain House. This young cub was unable to stand on her own when found. Our exam showed she was severely dehydrated, and emaciated, had head trauma, and was experiencing regular, very small seizures for her first two days in care due to a suspected toxoplasmosis infection. However, our team has managed to get her stabilized, and she is responding extremely well to treatment! She still has a long road to recovery and will be watched closely during her time with us to make sure there are no long-term issues before she is released back into the wild.