I believe I will start with a bear that is seldom seen in Mississippi. The black bear (Ursus Americanus) populates the southern parts of Mississippi as well as other place in North America. I personally have never seen one in the wild but have several family members who have. Just for clarification, the photos attached to this post were not taken by me, a first I might add. The black bear is protected by Federal Endangered Species Act. They are threatened by several different human factors. Logging as well as development are two of the major reason that their habitat is disappearing. This is commonly referred to as habitat fragmentation! It refers to the destruction of their natural habitat that results in the decrease in their ability to find mates and move about freely. These factors also decrease their food supply. Their diet here in Mississippi is made up of mostly nuts, plants, honey, small animal and occasionally even small or weak deer. They are consider omnivorous. They mate every other year of so and can give birth of up to six cubs (usually two). The cubs stay with the mother for a year and a half or more. For more facts about their actions and habits you should visit: http://www.bear.org/website.
As will be the theme in several of my future posts, I want to inform folks about responsible viewing on all types of wildlife. When most people think of bears, they either think about how cuddly Teddy Bears are or they are of the opinion that all bears will attack humans without provocation. Dr. Lynn Rogers says, "The main thing that helped me get over my fear of bears was learning their language—learning to interpret bear bluster in terms of their fear rather than my fear—learning that behaviors I thought were threatening were really expressions of their own apprehension." This reminds me of what my grandfather used to tell me. He would say, "Boy, that snake is more scared of you than you are of him. Just leave him alone and he will leave you alone." This is usually the case with lots of animals. Now, I am not advocating that everyone run up and try to pet the ole fellow, however, if the proper steps are taken, viewing bears in the wild can be a wonderful experience.
Dr. Lynn Rogers
One of my friends recently posted on her blog, that her and the family were out on an adventure when they saw another couple harassing a bear. The woman was scared and fled. The man got behind a tree and continued to harass the bear even though he was given given several warnings by the bear and my friend. To make a long story short, my friend finally persuaded the idiot to leave. This is exactly the kind of behavior I am trying to discourage. If you are truly interested in studying, watching or photographing wild life do so responsibly. Learn about the danger signs of the animal you want to observe, research it and do it the right way. Hopefully your experience will have little or no impact on nature and therefore not change it.
Now just so you will know, I am not prefect, as I pointed out in a past post about some geese I was photographing. All I ask is that you take time to learn the proper way to observe wildlife and enjoy it.