Urban Black Bears 'Live Fast, Die Young'

A report published yesterday by the Wildlife Conservation Society shows that black bears living in urban areas weigh more, get pregnant at a younger age, and are more likely to die violent deaths.

The study tracks 12 bears living in Lake Tahoe over a 10 year period and compares them to 10 bears living in surrounding "wildland" areas. The urban bears weighed an average of 30 percent more because their diet was delicious, fatty, garbage - basically the same stuff you eat. While the bears in the wildlands typically gave birth between 7-8 years of age, some of the skanky city bears first reproduced between the ages of 2-3 and the average was 4-5!

Perhaps least surprising were the stats on violent death, due to vehicle collisions.

i-5f68540b3b9c607afd6425c5d3642f28-bear dumpster.jpg
You only live once brah.

In a report already replete with many almost too-incredible-to-be-true human corrollaries, the researchers determine that human cities are acting as "the ultimate bear traps" attracting young bears with their abundant food where they fall-in with other fast moving urban bears - i.e. the "wrong crowd."

Sadly, the cities are depleting the wild populations by luring the young bears in with their partially eaten McDonalds and cheap crank. This is making it harder for wildland bear populations to remain steady.

Published in the Fall 2008 issue of Human-Wildlife Conflicts. The full article, Carnivores, urban landscapes, and longitudinal studies: a case history of
black bears
, Beckman, J., and Carl Lackey


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Ah, city living!

Anyone happen to know the average age of 'puberty' in black bears? I wonder if the city bears are sluttier or just 'crossing into womanhood' earlier than their wild counterparts.

Here's the deal: The Onion can handle this kind of satire really well by maintaining a consistent voice. Your problem is that this post never comes off clearly as a satire of the racial insensitivity I certainly hope you're lampooning, and so you basically come off as a racist who is totally insensitive to some urban black people's real problems. You literally compare certain black individuals (though you don't make clear which ones) to furry predators who make most of their food off of scavenging. I'm certainly not opposed to good satire, and making fun of racists is funny. It's not clear though, that you're not just plain racist.

By Jeff Guhin (not verified) on 02 Oct 2008 #permalink

This isn't in any way racist. If anything this is promoting luddism. The metropolis and technology are being criticized here, not the species of bear. You are associating black bears with black people. Would it be racist if it were grizzly bears? Although everyone knows polar bears don't get pregnant during adolescence, unless they live in Alaska and date hockey players.

Yeah, I didn't think of black people once reading this article. The people it's making fun of are all of us urban dwellers. This blog is primarily for animal news; the satire or comedy is just side stuff.

All that having been said: do those bears in Tahoe know how to roll 12 the "hard way". Please, don't anyone take that as racist/sexual comment...I could have said snake eyes or Box Car roll. Who is this jurk?

Hi Ben & Andrew
John & Craig

Well there is that 'theory' floating around that chemical additives in food are making young people, especially girls, physically develop earlier. I've heard rumblings in some of the weightlifting communities that soy contributes to it, especially, because it influences estrogen production.

I'm not a food scientist obviously and perhaps I'm just spreading malicious internet rumors, but I've heard that from a few different sources. Or perhaps there is some link between an earlier death? If other bears are dying in an area at a younger age perhaps some magical hormone is released in response as an evolutionary emergency survival system?

Yeah, I didn't think of black people once reading this article. The people it's making fun of are all of us urban dwellers. This blog is primarily for animal news; the satire or comedy is just side stuff.