Video shows bear crashing family barbecue and stealing their food in northern Mexico

Black bears living near humans adapt readily to alternate food sources such as garbage from dumps or campsites or handouts from tourists in parks

Video shows bear crashing family barbecue and stealing their food in northern Mexico
A black bear sticks its tongue out while sitting in a tree - Photo: Brian Wallace/The Juneau Empire/AP
English 19/09/2020 09:45 Mexico City David Carrizales Actualizada 09:45

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Lured in by food smells, a female bear followed by a cub arrived without being invited to a barbecue and took a family by surprise at the Sierra de Santiago tourist area, south of Monterrey, Nuevo León.

Despite the heat of the flames, the animal stole part of the food that was being grilled as the surprised tourists, between laughter and resignation, had to move some meters away to prevent a possible attack from the four-legged animal. While the animal was stealing their food, they joked saying they were not hungry anymore and that it was best to allow it to take the meat away.

The video uploaded by the family to social media shows that the bear escapes with a piece of roasted meat that she later shares with her cub. Then, she looks for more food in a bin near the grill.

In recent years, sightings of bears have been frequent in mountainous areas that are visited by families and hikers. It has also become normal for these animals to roam in residential areas near the Sierra Madre Oriental in the San Pedro Garza García and the Santiago municipalities in southern Monterrey.

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Authorities recommend not to interact with the animals and not to feed them. Last month, an Ursus americanus that became “friendly” with hikers at the Chipinque Ecological Park and dwellers in nearby neighborhoods had to be transferred to El Nido in Chihuahua after being castrated to prevent it from competing with other males and mixing with females of the Ursus americanus eremicus subspecies.

Black Bears
According to defenders.org, the American black bear is the smallest of the three bears species found in North America and is found only in North America.

Black bears have short, non-retractable claws that give them an excellent tree-climbing ability.

The black bear’s fur is usually a uniform color except for a brown muzzle and light markings that sometimes appear on their chests. Eastern populations are usually black while western populations often show brown, cinnamon, and blond coloration in addition to black. Black bears with white-bluish fur are known as Kermode (glacier) bears and these unique color phases are only found in coastal British Columbia, Canada.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the black bear (Ursus americanus) is found in the forests of North America, including parts of Mexico

Black bears that are actually brown are most common in western North America. They are sometimes called brown bears, but the true brown bear is much larger.

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The black bear is large and stocky and has a short tail. Adults range from 1.5 to 1.8 meters in length and weigh 90–270 kg. Moreover, male bears can be up to 70% heavier than female bears. The head is small but is supported by a strong neck. The ears are small and rounded. The curved claws are non-retractile, and bears walk on the soles of their feet.

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Although bears are commonly classified as carnivores, black bears have an omnivorous diet. In spring they consume emerging plants and carcasses of animals that have died during the winter. Fruits dominate the diet in summer, and both fruit and mast, especially acorns and beechnuts, constitute most of the fall diet. Additionally, black bears will also eat pinecones, roots, ants, and honey from wild or domestic bees. Nonetheless, black bears are strong predators, and in some areas, they frequently kill moose calves and deer fawns during spring. 

Black bears living near humans adapt readily to alternate food sources, such as garbage from dumps or campsites and handouts from tourists in parks. Human encounters with black bears occasionally result in injury or death, and attacks are reported every year. In almost all cases, avoiding surprise encounters is the best defense, as black bears prefer to avoid people.

According to the encyclopedia, “black bears become dormant during winter. They spend the winter in dens located in rock crevices, in underground burrows, under tree roots, in hollow trees, in brush piles, or simply on open-ground beds. Before winter sleep, bears must accumulate large quantities of body fat during late summer and fall. Not only does this enable them to survive the long period of winter fasting, but it also allows them to have sufficient energy in spring when they emerge and food is rare. For females, the amount of fat stored before winter is linked with reproductive success: fatter females typically have more and bigger young than do leaner females. Accumulating fat for the winter is thus a strong drive, and it explains the constant search for food through the summer and fall.”

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Black bears are not territorial; they are mostly solitary, and the home ranges of both males and females may overlap. Home ranges typically are larger where food is less abundant and smaller where food is plentiful. 

Black bears can live for more than 20 years in the wild, but in areas near human habitation, most black bears die sooner as a result of hunting, trapping, poaching, nuisance removal near campgrounds, or dumps, and collision with vehicles.

In natural habitats, black bears are active during the day. However, in areas of high human activity, black bears often become nocturnal to avoid encounters with humans. Nevertheless, black bears “habituate quickly to handouts given by tourists, and this lack of fear of humans often leads to conflicts.”

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