More acorns a boon for Smoky's bears - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

More acorns a boon for Smoky's bears

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A young black bear wanders in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Warren Bielenberg/Special to the News Sentinel A young black bear wanders in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Warren Bielenberg/Special to the News Sentinel

KNOXVILLE, TN (News Sentinel) -- This year's above-average acorn crop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a sharp turnaround from last year when black bears faced tough times as the result of widespread food shortages.

Smokies wildlife biologist Bill Stiver said white oak acorns — the bears' preferred food in the fall — are especially abundant, and that red oaks are plentiful at the park's higher elevations.

Few bear cubs were born in the Smokies last winter due to 2011's severe mast shortage. Stiver said, as a result, the park's female bears were in sync during the summer breeding season and that, thanks to the abundant mast, all those pregnant sows should be in good shape to produce healthy cubs this winter.

"We expect to see a lot of females with cubs on the landscape this spring," Stiver said.

Read more from our news partners at the Knoxville News Sentinel.


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