True Nature of Black Bears
Native people thought of them as healers. Environmentalists recognize them as an integral part of a healthy eco-system. Many in Northern New Jersey see them as the majestic symbol of the New Jersey Highlands. We see them as a timid—and much maligned creature.
And as with many things, the more we understand, the less we fear. So here are some facts about black bears:
- Black bears are flight animals. When given a choice between fighting or fleeing, they flee—typically up the nearest tree until danger passes.
- Mother black bears send their cubs up trees as a way to protect them. Aggressive defense of cubs is a grizzly bear trait.
- Bear cubs stay with their mother until they are two years old.
- Black bears sometimes exhibit “bluff behavior.” When threatened, they may slap the ground or charge a short distance before fleeing. This is done in an attempt to frighten off another bear or human that has come too close. When frightened, bears may also snort or clack their mouths.
- Black bears are among North America’s slowest reproducing land mammals.
- New Jersey’s bear population was all but wiped out by hunting in the 1970’s. Their population has only recently recovered.