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All bears are part of same species

I'm really curious about our local bears. I know they are mainly black but they also have coats of other colors. Are they all the same species?

— Greg L., Medford

Your timing is impeccable, Greg.

We just happened to have sent SYA's Bear Recon Squad down the Lower Rogue River this past week with a U.S. Bureau of Land Management crew.

The bipeds encountered eight bruins. The bears escaped unscathed from their SYA encounter, by the way.

It turns out all of the bears sighted had black fur, although a couple did have a slight cinnamon color. One even had a small white patch on his chest.

Yes, it could have been a she bear. Our SYA guys didn't ask. There is a downriver decorum to consider, after all.

The bottom line is that bear experts tell us our bears are all the same species, Ursus americanus. They are known as black bears but they may be black, brown, cinnamon and even blond.

No, we did not ask whether blond bears have more fun. Wildlife biologists are serious folks. They do not do funny.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.