With black bear populations at 100-year highs across most of the nation, there’s never been a greater need to educate the public about living near black bears. That’s why bear education is so important to our citizens, wildlife managers, students, teachers, and even the bears. You’ll find a ton of helpful information on this website. The more you learn about bears, the more you’ll appreciate how to share the land with them.
If you’re a teacher or a student, there are also lots of K-8 lesson activities in the black bear classroom curriculum that will help you learn about the biology and behavior of black bears. And knowing those things helps people understand better how to live near bears. In the Understanding Black Bears Educational Curriculum students get to explore the different relationships between humans and wildlife. They’ll learn concepts about how all living things need food, water, shelter, and space. They’ll also discover how a living thing’s characteristics and lifestyle define its relationship with humans, and that humans can exhibit both positive, neutral, and negative attitudes toward living things.
In states such as New Jersey, they have both the highest bear and human population densities combined. As you’ll see in the first video, wildlife managers there use a sophisticated combination of management tools to balance the “cultural carrying capacity” of black bears that share the landscape there with so many people.
Every day urban sprawl and human influences such as roads, housing developments, agriculture and industry expand further into regions historically inhabited by wild animals. As a result, it increases the competition between all species for the basic needs of life – food, water, shelter, and space. At the same time it also increases human-wildlife encounters, and sometimes conflict. Many of these conflicts with wildlife result mostly from our lack of understanding of wild animal behaviors and how we can behave in sharing the landscape with our wild neighbors.
The movie below is a section from the award-winning film, Living with Black Bears. It represents six years of filming an outstanding collection of black footage and encounters from across North America. Though the film reveals some exceptionally close encounters with bears, do not attempt to film or interact with bears by invading their space. So please, give them the respect they deserve.
For more information and videos on interacting with black bears, see the Encounters and Management sections of this website. Of course the best interaction is to leave them alone and give them the space and respect they deserve!