American black bear (Ursus americanus)

Pukaskwa National Park

The American black bear is the only species of bear found in Pukaskwa National Park. Black bears are usually black with a lighter coloured muzzle and sometimes a white chest patch. Some individuals are brown or cinnamon in color. Black bears are occasionally seen on open slopes, in forested areas, along the beaches or roadsides and in campgrounds. Their weights average 63 kg for adult females to 93 kg for adult males.

Black bears are omnivorous. Some of their favourite foods include grass, dandelions, ants and berries, but they will eat whatever is in season. During calving season, they will hunt newborn animals. They will also feed on wolf-kill or winter-kill carcasses. It is important that bears rely only on natural food sources. Bears can lose their fear of humans when they are attracted to inappropriate food sources such as coolers, bird feeders, barbecues, pet food, garbage and recycling. We are asking you to secure all wildlife attractants in order to deter unwanted visits.

Black bears overlap their territories with other bears. Females have smaller home ranges, around 14 km2, while males can have home ranges ten times this size. Males are generally solitary, except during breeding season, and females stay with their cubs until they are about 18 months old.

Black bear status in Pukaskwa

Black bears are found throughout Pukaskwa, but, as they are wild animals, few visitors will catch a glimpse of one.

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