Questions for “Changing people’s behavior can make bear life better”

a black bear ripping open a garbage bag

A young black bear hits a garbage buffet. As people and black bears live closer to each other, scientists are studying how to make sure both bears and people can thrive.

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To accompany feature “Changing people’s behavior can make bear life better


Before Reading:

1. If you encountered a bear near where you live or another place that you visit often, how would that make you feel? Explain why.

2. Would you like to live where you would be likely to encounter wildlife? Why or why not? Does your answer change depending on what type of animals you might encounter, such as foxes or owls versus bears?

During Reading:

1.  Where in North America do black bears live?

2.  What are three reasons that people may encounter bears more often now than 100 years ago?  

3.  Why do bears need to eat extra food in the late summer and fall? How much must they eat per day?

4.  What two things did Heather Johnson find that can get bears to stay awake later into the fall?

5.  Why might it be a problem for bears spend a shorter time in their dens?

6.  According to Stacy Lischka, what can attract bears to houses and towns?

7. As the number of bears around a town goes up, what is one potential threat to people? What is one potential threat to bears?

8. How are Johnson and Lischka using garbage cans to reduce conflicts between people and bears?

9.  What does it mean to live in a “landscape of fear”?

10.  What did Kathy Zeller learn about how living near human communities affects bears’ movements?

After Reading:

1.  Do you think encounters between people and wild bears are driven more by bear behavior or by human behavior? Explain your answer.

2.  As populations of both bears and people go up, are conflicts between the two unavoidable? Why or why not? Use evidence from the story to support your answer.