.

Black Bears Are Not Grizzly Bears, Reader Says

Reader disagrees with statement made by Morris Township police officer regarding black bear attitudes toward humans.

To the Editor:

Capt. Richard Ferrone spoke incorrectly about black bears. He was quoted as saying, "make sure you stay away from the cubs. They may be cute, cuddly cubs, but mother bear won't take kindly."

Black bears do not get upset if someone is between the mother and her cubs. Lynn Rogers, PhD, has lived with bears and studied them for 40+ years. He has written that mother Black Bears do not defend their cubs against people, she sends the cubs up a tree and waits until humans leave and then she calls them down.

Even the New Jersey Fish & Wildlife site says "sows will vocalize to cubs when sensing danger and both adults and cubs will run away and climb trees to escape disturbances."

There are no reports of a treed bear coming down and hurting anyone. They wait for the neighborhood to calm down at night so they can climb down and head for solitude. Black bears are "aggressive" only in the minds of people who know nothing about bears. Black Bears are not Grizzly Bears.

To avoid attracting a bear to homes, it is important to properly secure garbage and pet food. Especially this time of year, bears are attempting to fatten up for hibernation. If people yell, stomp on the ground, wave their arms and back away slowly, the bear will make a fast retreat. Air horns, supersoaker water guns, rocks and pepper spray are also very effective tools for chasing away bears. So are pop-open umbrellas. 

Taking action to reinstill the bears’ natural fear of humans is called “aversive conditioning.” People are 247 times more likely to be killed by lightning and 60,000 times more likely to be murdered by another human being than to be hurt by a black bear.

Barbara Metzler
Mendham 

John October 15, 2012 at 07:40 PM
What you recommend is great but hunger will drive them into populated areas and once they lose their fear they are dangerous. Bears that move into densely populated areas have lost that fear and should be removed for safety.
Karen Escalona October 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
My one and only encounter with a black bear was in 1999 in Jockey Hollow Natl Park. Unaware of the bear, I got within 250 yds of her when we both regarded each other with surprise. She sauntered off. I turned back and retraced my steps on the trail. An adrenalin rush, but nothing more.
Tryclyde October 15, 2012 at 10:25 PM
A few years ago, while living in Rockaway, I saw black bears all the time. One time, I basically bumped into one milling around a dumpster in my condo complex. It looked at me then simply walked around to the other side of the dumpster. It was about 6 feet from me. I named him Oscar.
Peter Eccles October 29, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Liar, liar, pants on fire. When we were near a mother bear and her cubs she did make sure the cubs went up a tree but chased us into our canoe. At least we had the canoe to get away. So it looks like a mother bear with cubs will chase you. Do not get between a mother bear and her cubs.
grassfox October 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Liar, liar, pants on fire. When we were near a mother bear and her cubs she did make sure the cubs went up a tree but chased us into our canoe. At least we had the canoe to get away. So it looks like a mother bear with cubs will chase you. You do not want to get between a mother bear and her cubs.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »