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Approximately 10% of the population of this subspecies have white or cream-colored coats due to a recessive gene and are called "kermodes" or "spirit bears".
The other 90% appear as normal-colored black bears.
According to Jack Hanna's Monkeys on the Interstate, a bear captured in Sanford, Florida, was thought to have been the offspring of an escaped female Asian black bear and a male American black bear.
In 1859, a black bear and a Eurasian brown bear were bred together in the London Zoological Gardens, but the three cubs died before they reached maturity.
Mexico is the only country where the black bear is classified as "endangered".
Throughout their range, habitats preferred by American black bears have a few shared characteristics.
Sometimes they become attracted to human communities because of the immediate availability of food.
Despite living in North America, American black bears are not closely related to brown bears and polar bears; genetic studies reveal that they split from a common ancestor 5.05 million years ago (mya).The black bear's generalist behavior allowed it to exploit a wider variety of foods and has been given as a reason why, of these three genera, it alone survived climate and vegetative changes through the last ice age while the other more specialized North American predators became extinct.However, both Arctodus and Tremarctos had survived several other ice ages.It is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a least-concern species, due to its widespread distribution and a large population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined.
Along with the brown bear, it is one of only two of the eight modern bear species not considered globally threatened with extinction by the IUCN.In The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, Charles Darwin noted: In the nine-year Report it is stated that the bears had been seen in the zoological gardens to couple freely, but previously to 1848 most had rarely conceived.