The sighting of a West Mexico black bear and its three cubs has been described as “outstanding” by the federal Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp).
The agency announced last week that the four bears were sighted in the state of Chihuahua by community surveillance teams and on stealth cameras installed in the Campo Verde Wildlife Protection Area.
Mother and cubs were in good health, Conanp said.
There are an estimated 122 black bears within Campo Verde, in an area that takes in parts of the municipalities of Madera and Casas Grandes. A total of 31 females and their cubs have been captured by the cameras, each mother having an average of two young.
The reintegration of the West Mexico black bear (Ursus americanus machetes) populations to their natural habitat has been brought about through a number of programs create and coordinated by Conanp.
One of those, the Action Program for Species’ Conservation (PACE), has included the implementation of 12 community projects and a regional biological surveillance project.
The bears are found in temperate forests of the western and eastern Sierra Madre Oriental and other adjoining mountain ranges, encompassing areas in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí and Sonora.
The species’ fur is generally dark black although some specimens can appear brown and even beige in color. The bears can grow to two meters in length and weigh up to 216 kilograms.
The animals’ main threat is the loss of natural habitat caused by deforestation and fragmentation of wooded areas, caused by unsustainable logging, farming and livestock breeding practices.
The black bear is also considered by some as a coveted hunting trophy.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers the species as a subject of “least concern,” while the Mexican government considers it as “subject to special protection.”
Black bear populations in Mexico continue to grow, but some experts have recommended that the species be considered “endangered.”
Source: National Geographic en Español (sp)