(First of a Three Part Series on Bears in the Mountains)
People, as well as, bears are moving to Western North Carolina at a rapid pace. WE are the newcomers to these mountains. Up here on the Highlands-Cashiers plateau, we do live among a very large population of Black Bears, who have roamed these mountains for ages. The Black Bear is the only species of bear living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. In the past 20 years, the range of the Black Bear in North Carolina has expanded to over 9 million acres which includes the coastal area as well as the mountains.
Many people have reported sightings of black bears in their yards, raiding garbage cans, birdfeeders, and crossing roads. By learning more about these gentle creatures as well as preventative measures, we all can co-exist peacefully. If these preventative measures are not learned, the bear becomes a nuisance bear.
WHAT IS A NUISANCE BEAR???
A bear is considered a nuisance when it learns to find and gets used to eating human food. Finding this food either from garbage where people live or recreate or camp sites bears become accustomed to the ease of finding human food. This bear must be captured and relocated to another area or euthanized to prevent them from becoming an increased danger to people. You can protect yourself, family and belongings AND bears by learning how to live with bears and other wildlife.
Black Bears are the largest mammals living in the forest of North Carolina. The average weight is 150-350 pounds, but a few bears over 600 pounds have been reported. Bears are omnivorous (as are humans), eating a wide variety of foods such as plants, berries, acorns, other nuts, insects, fruit, as well as some animal material. Black Bears are usually shy and try to avoid human contact and are not normally aggressive toward people.
So as the population of both bears and humans increase in our area, we must learn to co-exist. Don’t let your ignorance or carelessness cause the unnecessary death of a bear!