Black bears in the Chilcotin Ark can come in many different colours from black, cinnamon to red and blond. They are generally smaller than grizzlies with 200-600 lbs, sows being smaller than boars. A black bear’s neck is solid and short and they have a long straight nose. The larger the black bear, the less prominent the ears are. Black bears don’t have a distinctive shoulder hump like grizzly bears do and the highest point of their body is their back. Depending on location, black bears can go into hibernation for as much as six months of the year, starting in November. While hibernating, bears don’t drink, eat or defecate. Black bears dens can be a rock crevice, brush piles, overhanging cover and uprooted trees, digging a little to make the area more suitable. While hibernating their heart rate will drop and their oxygen intake and metabolism will be reduced but their body temperature will only drop for a couple degrees.

Black bear sows breed every two years and give birth in January or February during hibernation to 1-4 cubs. They will stay with their mothers for a year and in their second summer she will chase them off. After that she will breed again, ready to begin the cycle again.

Black bears are omnivorous and will eat a variety of food throughout the year. They will eat vegetable matter, flowers, grass, larva, fruit (particularly berries), fish and carrion. In the spring, in BC black bears are focused on deer fawns, moose calves, elk calves and cariboo calves. If given the opportunity they will also eat garbage as well as climbing trees for food or to escape grizzly bears or other threats.