This article is being shared with the permission of Karen Chávez and Asheville Citizen Times. It can be read in its entirety by clicking the link below.
By Karen Chávez, Asheville Citizen Times
What's in a black bear's belly?
It could range from bees to household trash to blueberries. And even the remains of humans, according to wildlife biologists.
But the contents show the feeding habits of bears, who are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat anything, said Lisa McInnis, chief of resource management for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and an ecologist by training.
“It’s not unusual at all for bears to eat other animals. They're omnivores, they’re scavengers, so they'll eat meat or plants or scavenge. They're really opportunistic in that way,” she said.
That has been unsettling for some people who read the account of a man, identified as Patrick Madura, 43, of Elgin, Illinois, who was found dead Sept. 11 in the Smokies backcountry with a 240-pound male bear feeding on his remains.
Photo courtesy of Ken Taylor, NC Wildlife Resources Comission