Park Bears Habitat in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

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Park Bear Habitat

Park bears are solitary animals. They reside in territories that may expand or contract depending upon conditions such as current bear population and the availability of food. The park bears territory consists primarily of food, water, bedding resources and the paths leading to them. American Black Bear territory is typically thick woodland interrupted by an occasional field, making Cades Cove in GSMNP ideal bear territory. Generally speaking, park bear territories average about one bear per square mile, but a 1998 study showed that approximately 1,700 bears live in the park which gives The Great Smoky Mountain National Park about twosmoky mountain black bear Smoky Mountain Black Bear Video bears per square mile.

If food or water is scarce, park bears may need to wander further than their normal territory in order to find food. When the growing season does not produce enough berries and mast (nuts, acorns, etc.) to support the bear population, black bears can range up to one hundred square miles. Naturally this situation places many of the park bears outside the protection of the park and in danger of poachers, hunters, civilization, and of course highways. Up to one third of the park bear population have been lost in particularly bad years.

Like all park bears, Smoky Mountain Black Bears defend their territories against other bears, but will share some territory if food supplies are good, especially in the case of male bears and their female companions. In such circumstances there is a respect for the order of dominance among the bears. Dominance is of course established by aggressive behavior. The weak and faint of heart are at the bottom of the order. Note: For more information about the Smoky Mountain black bear, Kate Marshall Graphics has produced an award winning video production about the black bear. The video has been approved for educational content by the National Park Service and the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, and is now being offered for sale at the official Park visitors centers.

More Black Bear Info:

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