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Black Bear

(Ursus americanus)

Although they are called black bears, they come in a variety of colors, including brown, white, and black. The black bear is approximately four to seven feet from nose to tail, and two to three feet high at the withers. Black bears are skilled climbers and swimmers and can run up to 35 mph. Black bears are not currently endangered, but their numbers are declining due to being hunted for their paws, which are used in soups, their gall bladders, which are used in medicinal markets in the Far East and California, and their claws, which are used as jewelry.

The black bear is found only in North America and the population is estimated at 750,000. They can be found in forested areas as far south as Florida and northern Mexico and as far north as Alaska and Canada. Their diet consists of fish, carrion, small mammals, insects, fruits, and berries. Black bears can live up to 30 years.

Knoxville Zoo is home to one female, Ursula, and two males, Alvin and Monty. Experience Smoky Mountain mist while visiting them at Black Bear Falls.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species: americanus