The population of Black Bears is at its peak today more than it has ever been. After reaching one of the lowest population levels in the mid to late 1990s, wildlife areas that were previously restricted were opened back up allowing black bears to roam freely. This population comeback now inhabits more than 60% of the land cover in North Carolina!
Black bears are magnificent and majestic creatures that are viewed as opportunists in the wild as they will sniff out and feed on whatever is readily available in their environment. Human interaction has increased and it is important for us to not fear the bear as a deathly dangerous animal as well as a cuddly-loving one. More safety awareness, knowledge, and understanding of black bear behavior has been introduced to the residents of North Carolina and visitors passing through.
Bear safety entails a few small but very crucial tasks to keep yourself safe and bears off your trail. Some important safety tips are to avoid camping and hiking alone; especially in the dark, never approach a bear, keep your food in containers/coolers and a vehicle if possible, do not leave any food or food containers unattended, always throw away food scraps and trash in designated trash cans, if you were to ever come in contact with a bear do not run, back away slowly or depending on the situation, make your presence known-act loud and attempt to scare them away, and of course no matter how cute and cuddly, stay away from baby cubs; their mother is not far away. Along with these safety tips, having and showing respect for black bears in their natural habitat will ultimately better protect and preserve their population for the future.
The only location that black bears can be found in the world is the Eastern US- specifically in the vast woodland forests of WNC and the Eastern Carolina coastal swamplands. It is our responsibility to protect this magnificent species of bear ensuring a healthy and stress free environment for us all.