Black Bear

Ursus americanus

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This medium-sized bear is common throughout the forested areas of Oregon, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife estimating as many of 30,000 individuals residing within the state. Despite their name, the bear can actually have different colors of fur ranging from cinnamon to blond. They are often confused with the Brown Bear, which is a distinctly separate species that includes some subspecies such as the Grizzly Bear. Like most of its species, the Black Bear is omnivorous, preferring to eat berries, fruits and grasses; but sometimes supplementing its diet with other animals. These opportunistic creatures can become a nuisance or even a menace when they enter human-inhabited areas while scavenging for food. People have often exacerbated these problems by deliberately feeding bears or not properly disposing of waste materials. Generally speaking, however, Black Bears prefer to avoid humans and attacks are very rare.

Range and Habitat

Black Bears can most commonly be found along streams and rivers in forested areas throughout Oregon. Excellent swimmers, they enjoy the water and often can be spotted fishing in the shallows.

Conservation Status

Common. Legal hunting of male bears is allowed in Oregon, although it is prohibited to take sows or cubs.