Outdoors blog

Black bear study vindicates mama bears, surprises experts

Black-bear inflicted human mortalities, 1900-2009, based on a research published in May 2011 in the Journal of Wildlife Management. (Trish McAlaster / The Globe and Mail)
Black-bear inflicted human mortalities, 1900-2009, based on a research published in May 2011 in the Journal of Wildlife Management. (Trish McAlaster / The Globe and Mail)

WILDLIFE -- The results of a new study published last week in the Journal of Wildlife Management found that black bears have killed 63 people in the United States and Canada over the last 109 years.

That light toll on humanity didn't surprise the experts, but wildlife biologists were taken back by the analysis of which black bears killed people.

We're not talking about grizzlies. Just their smaller more-common cousins.

The study of lethal bear attacks across Canada and the United States found, contrary to popular perception, that the black bears most likely to kill are not mothers protecting cubs. Most attacks, 88 percent, involved a bear on the prowl, likely hunting for food. And most of those predators, 92 percent, were male.

Read a good report on the study by the Toronto Globe and Mail along with tips for hiking, camping and living in bear country.

Click here for a New York Times report on the study.

Click here for a video interview with University of Calgary research Stephen Herrero, who's written the most acclaimed research on  bears attacks.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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