Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You make the call- Grizzly? or Black Bear?

Each year a fair number of people report seeing a grizzly bear in the North Cascades. Some even take photos. Field biologists from the various agencies and non-profits examine these photos to try and determine if indeed they are grizzly bears or just large brown black bears.

You be the referree. These photos were all recently submitted with sighting reports.

So, what features make a big brown bear a grizzly? Black bears and grizzlies overlap in both size and color.

Grizzlies have a large, defined shoulder hump. A big block head with small looking ears. Large claws, very large indeed. A face profile that is dished.

Black bears have a small or no defined hump. Large ears compared to their head size. A long snout that has a face profile that is straight. Claws that are rather small.

Most folks do not want to go up to the bear and examine it's claws. However a good track will tell you if the bear was a black bear or a grizzly.

Learn more at the GBOP website about identifying bears.

If you see a grizz, call 1.800.WOLFBEAR or report the sighting at the GBOP website.

Alas, none of these photos can be classified as a grizzly. Therefore, they are most likely large brown black bears.