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Are There Bears In Newfoundland? Fur Sure.

We had an Instagram user DM us asking if there are bears in Newfoundland as they were planning their East Coast Trail hiking trip. The answer is of course is yes as we have black bears here in Newfoundland, and you’ll also find polar bears in Labrador.

When hiking alone, make sure to keep a good amount of noise up and you’ll be quite fine. I however have never seen, nor heard a bear in Newfoundland while out hiking or out atving in the back country.

Newfoundland Bear Key Statistics

The Newfoundland black bear (Ursus americanus hamiltoni) is a distinct subspecies of the American black bear that is endemic to the island of Newfoundland in Atlantic Canada. Some key facts about the Newfoundland black bear:

  • They are generally larger than mainland black bears, with males weighing between 90-270 kg (200-600 lbs) and averaging 135 kg (298 lbs). Females are significantly smaller, averaging 50-80 kg.
  • The population in Newfoundland and Labrador is estimated to be between 6,000-10,000 bears, one of the highest concentrations in North America.
  • Newfoundland black bears have adapted to live in the island’s black spruce and balsam fir forests, as well as the tundra. Unlike mainland black bears, they have become more carnivorous, hunting caribou, seals, and other prey4.
  • Despite their large size, Newfoundland black bears are generally timid and avoid humans. However, they can become aggressive if they become habituated to human food sources. Proper storage of food and garbage is important to avoid conflicts.
  • The average lifespan of Newfoundland black bears is around 20 years, but hunting reduces this to less than 10 years on average.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador is a popular destination for black bear hunting, with two hunting seasons per year and the opportunity to take two bears per license3. The largest black bear ever taken in the province weighed 687 lbs.

So yes, the Newfoundland black bear is a unique and thriving subspecies found only on the island, known for its large size and adaptations to the local environment. 

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