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The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Mammalogy Contacts

Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals

Jim Dines, Ph.D.
Collections Manager
(213) 763-3400

David Janiger
Curatorial Assistant
(213) 763-3369


American black bear

Ursus americanus (Pallas, 1780)

American black bear diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Black bears are most active at twilight, although breeding and feeding activities may change their activity pattern seasonally. Black bears are important in ecosystems because of their effects on populations of insects and fruits. They help to disperse the seeds of the plants they eat and consume large numbers of colonial insects and moth larvae. They sometimes take small and large mammals as prey, such as rabbits and deer.

Biological Information

Range map for the American black bear


Northern Alaska and Canada south into central Mexico


Vegetated mountainous areas between 3000 and 10,000 feet


Formerly extensive, residual populations survive in sparsely populated wooded regions and where protected in national parks


Grasses and forbs in spring, shrub and tree-borne fruits in summer and fall

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for American black bear.