The Bear Necessities
Let’s talk about bears! They span four of the seven continents and consist of eight species: Asiatic black bears, brown bears, giant pandas, North American black bears, polar bears, sloth bears, spectacled bears, and sun bears. Turpentine Creek is home to two of the eight species: brown bears and North American black bears.
Bears in Captivity
Six species are on the IUCN Red List as threatened or vulnerable. The biggest threat to all species of bears is habitat loss. This loss can come from logging, agriculture, and the growing human population. Illegal wildlife trade is threatening species of bears including, Asiatic black bears and sun bears. Bear bile, produced in the gallbladder, is used in traditional Chinese medicine. The primary victims targeted for this act are Asian bears. But, American black bears are also targeted.
Across the world, bears are at entertainment facilities to bring in more money. Historically, street performances used bears in the Middle Ages. Today, circuses and traveling companies commonly have captive bears for their shows. People force bears to wear costumes and perform absurd tricks to please a crowd. In the wild, bears would not be riding bicycles or wearing clothes. Cub petting industries will also use baby bears as a prop. Owning a bear as a pet is common, but how does one take care of a bear? Many people do not realize the work it takes, and house them in small outdoor enclosures with only enough room for the animal to turn around.
The Bears of TCWR
Turpentine Creek has rescued North American black bears and brown browns. They all have access to spacious, grassy habitats filled with lots of enrichment opportunities: pools, back-scratching posts, hammocks, benches, etc. As omnivores, they get a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables along with protein (chicken, eggs, fish). In the winter, during their denning period, their food intake will go down because they tend not to eat as much. In October of 2018, our naturally-wooded bear habitats opened, providing six of our bears a total of three acres to explore. These habitats give the animals a chance to feel like true, wild bears.
How You Can Help
Bear species are each unique and deserve to have a chance to run throughout the forests. By contacting your state representatives, you can help bears in the United States!