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Why do black bear cubs play?

This black bear cub, freshly out of the den from the winter, didn’t need a fancy playground to find joy in its new life. The sticks and stones provided more than enough entertainment to occupy its time and allowed for exploration of his/her territory.

You will often observe black bear cubs playing with objects, and, if they are lucky, with their siblings. The belief is that it allows for them to burn off excess energy, become more familiar with socialization and their surroundings, and helps them develop skills that will be vital to their survival in the wild including for hunting, mating and testing their skills.

What is evident from our years of observing these animals, is that each individual has a unique personality. Some bear cubs love to play, while others are a bit more aloof. Some mothers encourage play, while other mothers prefer more serious and focused cubs.

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