In Asheville, North Carolina, wildlife biologists study a growing black bear population, one example of city-dwellers and animals who try to coexist around the world.
Around and within Asheville, black bears are proliferating. Four specialists, led by Colleen Olfenbuttel, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s black bear and furbearer biologist and a professor at N.C. State University, conduct field investigations that include capturing, tagging, and following bears fitted with radio collars. Cherrix writes with affection about her hometown, offering readers an immediate account of bear captures and the scientists’ work. Accompanied by local wildlife photographer Steve Atkins (who contributes many of the book’s full-color photos), she joins the scientists (who all present white) for two bear encounters. Photos show the splendid Blue Mountains scenery, bear habitat in suburban backyards, and the bears themselves, including an irresistible cub less than 2 months old. Readers see scientists in action as well as schoolchildren having a rare opportunity to see and touch a bear, temporarily sedated for a physical exam. The writer weaves in information about black bear life, the history of human-bear relationships in the area, habitat changes, and even tips for bear encounters. A middle chapter describes other examples of urban human/wildlife cohabitation: leopards in Mumbai, India; eastern coyotes across the United States; feral chickens in Hawaii; turkeys in Boston; starlings throughout North America; wild boars in Berlin; and the threat of capybaras in Florida.
Another inviting example of scientific field work in a consistently appealing series. (glossary, notes, bibliography, acknowledgements, index) (Nonfiction.10-16)