Recent observations of intraspecific predation and cannibalism among polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea

Intraspecific killing has been reported among polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus). Although cannibalism is one motivation for such killings, the ecological factors mediating such events are poorly understood. Between 24 January and 10 April 2004, we confirmed three instances of intraspecific predation and cannibalism in the Beaufort […]

Rapid ecological and behavioural changes in carnivores: the responses of black bears (Ursus americanus) to altered food

Many areas have experienced disproportionate increases in the number of conflicts between large carnivores and humans, and this is especially true in western North America where urban sprawl has encroached into regions that have historically contained large carnivores. Yet, globally there is a paucity of studies of temporal changes in behavioural and ecological parameters of […]

Socially learned foraging behaviour in wild black bears, Ursus americanus

To date, research on social learning has been limited mainly to only a few taxa in captive or seminatural settings. We undertook a quantitative study of social learning in free-ranging black bears at Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, U.S.A. from 1995 to 2006. We tested the hypothesis that food-conditioned foraging behaviour (foraging on human food […]

Seasonal variation in stereotypic pacing in an American black bear Ursus americanus

The behaviour of a male American black bear Ursus americanus was observed for over 2400 h across all seasons of the year. Stereotypic pacing was most frequent, oriented away from the exhibit, and performed mainly after feeding during the period May-July; from August-November pacing was oriented towards the exhibit and performed mainly around feeding time. […]

Ursus americanus

species monograph

Bears ‘Count’ Too: Quantity Estimation and Comparison in Black Bears, Ursus americanus

Studies of bear cognition are notably missing from the comparative record despite bears’ large relative brain size and interesting status as generalist carnivores facing complex foraging challenges, but lacking complex social structures. We investigated the numerical abilities of three American black bears, Ursus Americanus, by presenting discrimination tasks on a touch-screen computer. One bear chose […]

Food preference testing of captive black bears

A method was developed to test food preferences of 2 young captive female black bears (Ursus americanus) under controlled conditions. Two sets of food items (5 native and 7 non-native) were tested biweekly for 1 year in a seminatural enclosure in Tennessee. The bears exhibited definite preferences among both sets of foods. The preferences were […]

Curiosity in the american black bear

American black bears (Ursus americanus) were tested to quantify their response to novel objects placed in their environment. The results indicate that the level of orientation may be greater in the black bear than in other North American carnivores. The exploration of objects by the black bear is characterized by a high degree of contact […]

Concept formation in American black bears, Ursus americanus

Despite their large relative brain size, bears have been neglected in studies of comparative cognition in comparison to their fellow carnivores, the social canines and pinnipeds. Here, three captive adult American black bears were presented with a series of natural concept discrimination tasks on a touchscreen computer, in which the discriminations varied in degree of […]

Salmon Fishing by Bears and the Dawn of Cooperative Predation

Although bears are an epitome of solitary predation, black (Ursus americanus) and brown bears (U. arctos) occasionally act in pairs to capture salmon (Onchorynchousspp.). I sought to identify conditions that promote pairing and how this relates to optimal foraging. This study on Alaskan black bears assessed whether each mode of fishing (solo vs. paired) occurs […]