Black Bears (Ursus Americanus) Are Not Winnie the Pooh!
While California's other native bear, the grizzly, was hunted to extinction in California, black bears are widespread. Generally found in timber and brush areas, they are intelligent and very strong. Although classified as carnivores, black bears are omnivorous, eating grass, flowers, leaves, seeds, nuts, berries, fish, eggs, ants, small animals, and carrion. Like Pooh, they are fond of honey and will raid wild bee nests, eating the honey, honeycomb, bees and high protein larvae.
While black bears don't truly hibernate, they have a long winter sleep during which two and sometimes three cubs, each weighing less than a pound, are born. Cubs remain with their mothers for two years. Males are called boars, females are sows. Black bears are potentially dangerous. Educate yourself before going into bear country.
Our Black Bear Exhibit
We have received a large grant from California Park Bond funds. These funds have been used to complete the new black bear exhibit. All of our bears - Henry, Tahoe, Sequoia, Marty and Woody - are enjoying the space.
Our Bears Talk to Each other
You may hear the "chuff chuff" sounds of the bears cautioning each other, as well as a more vocal call which happens when one of the youngsters has climbed to the safety of a high place. Female bears teach their cubs to climb trees to escape danger. Once safe, they may make sounds at the "scary thing" they escaped from.
Joining the zoo bears in Sepember 2010, Henry's mother was a "problem" bear and had to be euthanized. Thought to be born around spring 2010.
Woody's mom was a problem bear who broke into cabins in Homewood. Her little thirty-pound cub has grown up at the Nimbus facility of the California Department of Fish and Game while efforts were made to find him a safe captive home.
Marty was shot in the hip. At six or seven years of age when he arrived in 2005, he's the senior of the bear duo. Woody and Marty were buddies for two years at F & G before they arrived at the zoo. After a busy day they still bunk down together.
Black bear Sequoia was less than one year old when he moved to Folsom Zoo Sanctuary in October 1998. He was dropped off anonymously at a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Tulare County. He's the largest bear with the white upside down heart on his chest. He has no fear of people and cannot safely return to the wild.
An injured black bear mother and her cubs were seen at a Lake Tahoe park. After the mother bear disappeared, female cub Tahoe attempted to take food from a visitor. She became a "problem bear". Because bear cubs must learn survival skills from their mother, rehabilitation and release are rarely successful. She came to the zoo in October 1998, and has been housed with Sequoia ever since.