While female grizzly bears with young have always been considered to be the more dangerous sex, a recent study by bear biologist Stephen Herrero suggests that the opposite may be true for black bears. Herrero’s study on fatal black bear attacks from 1900 to 2009, published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, shows that male black bear are responsible for over 90% of the 63 fatal attacks on humans in the U.S. and Canada.
While the number of attacks per decade has risen since the 1960s, it is not thought to be due to bears becoming more aggressive, but due to more people living and recreating in bear habitat. The study also suggests a correlation between the attacks, food availability and a bear’s lack of previous experience with humans.
Listen to a recent interview with Dr. Herrero and learn more about his study, the two different types of bear attacks; Defensive and Predatory, and what steps to take if faced with either type of attack. Also visit GBOP’s Tips for Coexistence and Bear Safety pages.