What are the protected areas where the American black bear lives?

The species is found from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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What are the protected areas where the American black bear lives?
© Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 wikimedia commons

The American black bear occupies an area between the northern regions of Alaska and Mexico. It is found from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. Even if it prefers forests and areas rich in shrubs, it can adapt to very varied climates and natural environments.

It also inhabits the mixed forests of southeastern Canada and northeastern United States of America, but also in the southern Appalachian Mountains. The black bear is also found in all suitable habitats in the West. These include the arid chaparral-covered montanes of Southern California, the temperate forests of Oregon and Washington, the entire length of the Rocky Mountains, and even parts of the Sonoran Desert.

American black bear
American black bear© Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 wikimedia commons
 

Once winter has passed, the black bear leaves its refuge and searches for food at lower altitudes and in valleys exposed to the sun. As summer approaches, it returns to higher altitudes. The forest constitutes a favorable environment for the black bear, where it can hide and protect itself from the sun.

The protected areas where the American black bear lives

The black bear was also hunted to make the famous headdresses of the British Guards and of certain regiments of the Canadian and British Army. The use of bear fur for these hats, as well as the killing of the animals in collisions with cars or by hunters, are criticized by animal protection associations such as PETA. Faux fur headdress models have also been made. Finally, the legs and bile of the plantigrade are currently still highly sought after in Asia: a gram of bile, used in the Chinese pharmacopoeia, costs 155 dollars.

In Yosemite National Park in California, the black bear population is estimated to be between 300 and 500 individuals. The rangers have counted about fifteen of them in the Yosemite valley, which is the sector most frequented by tourists. It was also customary in Yellowstone to feed bears, and this practice was an important tourist attraction. Today, this habit has been abandoned in the park. There are currently 600 black bears living in Yellowstone.

In the eastern United States, there is a population of 400-600 black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is during poor beechnut years that accidents with visitors have multiplied. In this region, the black bear faces competition from invasive species such as the European wild boar, which is an important consumer of acorns. The rangers narcotize the most dangerous male bears and move them to more remote areas.