Wildlife On the Mountain
Wildlife… It’s All Around You!
Among the wildlife seen on the Mountain are snakes, skunks, raccoons,
squirrels, deer, coyotes, bobcats, wild turkeys, bats, owls…
and yes, there are black bears in our midst.
Meet the Black Bear
Bears live in many North Carolina counties, and they are not usually dangerous unless humans feed or provoke them. Somewhere around 8,000 black bears range around western North Carolina, and many of those make our area part of their meandering. Wildlife officers receive numerous bear complaints in Buncombe County, and the number of reports usually rises during the summer. The bear population is actually helped by growth in the human populated areas. As new homes and subdivisions are built, bears gain additional areas where hunting is not allowed. These neighborhoods are bear sanctuaries, including the city of Asheville. Bears can not be hunted in these areas. In these de facto sanctuaries, female bears are raising one to five cubs.
Unless a person is harmed, the the wildlife department will not act to catch or remove a bear.
Fact is that humans and bears can co-exist if residents take steps to keep the bears wild and prevent them from becoming a problem. Since the topic of “bears” comes up rather frequently in the community, we present the information below so that you can be more knowledgeable about these animals.
Every encounter with a black bear can be different. Bears should always be considered unpredictable and dangerous. More often than not, a wild bear will detect you first and flee from the area. However, black bears that have become accustomed to humans and their foods, may not run away. In these cases, certain precautions are offered for consideration:
➤ Do not run. Remain calm, continue facing the bear and slowly back away.
➤ Keep children and pets close at hand.
➤ Make lots of noise. Yell, rattle pots and pans, whistle and break sticks.
➤ Stand upright. Do not kneel or bend over. Wave arms, jackets or other materials.
➤ Never approach or corner a bear.
➤ Never offer food to a bear.
➤ Be aware of the presence of cubs and never come between a bear and its cubs.
➤ Fight back aggressively if a bear attacks you.
➤ If you have a problem or concern with bears or other wildlife or see an injured or orphaned wild animal, call the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Wildlife Hotline at 866-318-2401.
➤ To learn more about living responsibly with bears, visit www.BearWise.org.