Tuesday, May 24, 2011

International Year of Forests

Black bear
(Click to view on Flickr)

The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is the most common bear in North America, and its global population is greater than that of all other bear species combined. Though they share their range with brown bears (Ursus arctos), they are not particularly closely related - the black bear's ancestors have resided in North America for at least 4.95 million years, while the brown bear moved in across the Bering land bridge around 100,000 years ago.

I spotted this bear alongside the Alaska Highway in Canada's Yukon Territory. It cast me a few nervous glances as I was watching it, but went about its business. I saw a few other, more confident bears that were less concerned about my presence, but they all lacked the lovely brown patches this one has.

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