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‹ Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey

Black Bear in the Juniper Nation

December 23, 2016
Growing Native with Petey Mesquitey
Black Bear in the Juniper Nation


Black bears are Ursus americanus and they are found in much of North America. In Arizona they are found in the eastern half of the state from north to south in mountainous areas. I feel fortunate to have seen black bears many times over the years and all have been good experiences, though every year one reads about bears that have lost their fear of humans and can be very threatening in behavior. In Cochise County large fires in the Chiricahua and Huachuca Mountains in recent years have driven bears out of the burned hills in desperate search of food in rural and urban settings leading to human/bear encounters. We had a bear come to our place after the Horseshoe 2 Fire in the summer of 2011. It wanted to dine on our chickens. Luckily the ruckus raised by our dogs scared it off, and later we followed its tracks in the stream bed of the Ol’ Guajolote and figured it came down that riparian corridor from the mountains in search of food.

My copy of Hortus Third says there are around 70 species of junipers (Juniperus spp.) found all over the world in the Northern Hemisphere. Where I grew up in Kentucky we had Juniperus virginiana in thickets growing in the bottom lands near creeks and rivers. And yes, we called them cedars. Here in Arizona we have 7 species and bears not to mention other wild critters, love the “berries”, technically the cones, of all the junipers.

A couple notes:  well, across their range black bears can be other colors than black, not rainbow unicorn like, but blue-gray or brown, or cinnamon. The photos are not mine, but taken from public domain images. The bear in the pool was taken at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. What beautiful large mammals.

Black Bear,   Growing Native,   Horseshoe 2 Fire,   Juniperus coahuilensis,   Juniperus monosperma,   Juniperus species,   Petey Mesquitey,   Ursus americanus,  


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