These large sized omnivores have increased within the Redberry Lake Biosphere Region over the past decade. Black bears reside in a number of habitats from boreal forests to urban greenbelts (along river valleys and lake shores). They eat a variety of plants, mammals and amphibians. They help landowners in many ways preying on beavers, ungulates and many species of plants and shrubs. Black bears emerge in the early spring from den sites in search of food, this is the most dangerous time of the year for bear encounters as black bears wake up leave their denning sites in search of food. The female (sow) black bear can have 1-3 young cubs which she gives birth inside her den during the late winter (Jan-Feb) and has a much smaller home range, roughly 6-20 kms. The sow raises the cubs for approximately 16-18 months teaching them life skills then they fend for themselves. Male (boar) black bears are solitary and have home ranges of roughly 20kms-150kms. Males are generally bigger in size on average and can weigh as much as 600 lbs. In the fall you can find black bear poop (scat) which is mostly composed of Choke cherry, Saskatoon berry and wild blue berry. In some years when berry crops fail black bears can come into contact with human development looking for easy meals, they are known to eat from garbage dumps and garbage cans. This is not normal behaviour, but bears have a keen sense of smell and take advantage of easy food sources. RLBR has documented increased sightings around Redberry Lake this year using game cameras. We advise if you are out hiking around Redberry Lake to carry bear spray

with you and keep your dogs on leash to deter un provoked bear encounters. If you see any black bears we would be interested in hearing about it so we can document and learn more about these incredible animals in our region.

Photo courtesy of Mike Blom