Reflections on Bear Hibernation and Behavior

| 12/24/2015 10:02:00 AM

Tags: black bears, bears, wildlife, inspiration, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,


Since moving to the mountains of Southern Colorado, we have encountered many black bears and because of those encounters, we have learned much about the species. I have posted several articles on bears in the past but I’m not sure enough can be said about these interesting animals.

I seem to be constantly looking up black bear characteristics or traits on the internet to be better informed. Perhaps one of the best sources of information and a site I access is called the North American Bear Center in Minnesota (NABC). There seems to be an abundance of misinformation about bears that circulates and every time there is a human encounter that goes bad, the bear is the one pictured in a bad light.

This time of year, our bears are in hibernation and being able to do that has always fascinated me. Now that we have them around frequently and I have been able to observe them over the years, I have come to really appreciate this often maligned animal. When it comes to parenting, I believe the human species could learn much from the black bear.

I have observed the mother bear with their cubs on many occasions and they are a no-nonsense parent to the young. When the cub does something wrong, the mother is not at all hesitant to make a firm correction. I also have witnessed the love and affection they demonstrate and how protective they are of their vulnerable young — all aimed to help the cub live on their own in the wild.

We once had a young cub (very small) wander through our property. It was wet and looked miserable but we knew enough not to go to its aid. A short while after it left, we saw the mother coming down the road with a determination I had never witnessed on a mother bear before. It would have been a huge mistake to get between her and her cub, which was probably several hundred yards away by then, as she was in no mood to be deterred from her objective.

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