The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is so common in northern New Jersey that many people don’t need to go to a zoo in order to see one. Although there have been occasional sightings of the animals in New Brunswick, I’ve only once seen a Black Bear in the wild, a large individual that quickly ran off through the forest as soon as I saw it. Still, the Black Bear population in New Jersey exponentially increased in a very short period of time, many state conservation and wildlife agencies coming under fire for supporting or not supporting a bear hunt (at least one official left their office due to their opinions on a potential bear hunting season). Black Bears are also of interest to us in another, unexpected capacity; some mangy, nearly hairless individuals give rise to Bigfoot myths. The individual pictured above is in much better condition, however, and is part of a pair on display at the Turtle Back Zoo.