City Cast

All About Black Bears

Adrian González
Adrian González
Posted on August 15
A black bear eats from a trough full of fruits and vegetables.

“Hank the Tank” munches on non-stolen food at Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado. (@wildanimalsanctuary on Instagram)

Black bears are on our minds lately. Peyton Garcia recently told you the story of Billy Bryan, an original inhabitant of what is now the Denver Zoo. And last week, black bear “Hank the Tank” was relocated from California to the Wildlife Animal Sanctuary after having broken into too many houses to look for snacks. Let’s take a closer look at the hungry giants.

Not All Black Bears Are Black

Some, like Hank the Tank, are a dusty brown. There’s even a black bear species in the British Columbia Archipelago with white fur. Their habitat extends from the northern tip of Canada and Alaska to northern parts of Mexico, and can live in both coniferous and deciduous forests.

Be Bear Aware

Like most hungry creatures, black bears will go to great lengths to find their next meal. They’ll also keep coming back to places where they’ve found food before, so take special precautions when you’re visiting the foothills, camping, or hiking. Colorado Parks & Wildlife has a great video about what to do if you encounter a bear.


The best strategy for keeping bears away is to minimize anything that might entice them. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t feed them! Seriously, even if you’re thinking about throwing food from a distance or leaving it out, don't do it.
  • Use a bear-proof trash receptacle.
  • Clean off food residue and leftovers after grilling. You may not have invited them to the BBQ, but they’ll come anyway.
  • Don’t leave food in your car when parked near a campground or hiking trail.
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