This medium sized bear is the most common and widespread of all bear species. They generally prefer to live in the forest but these opportunistic omnivores will leave the forest in search of food, often ending up near or in human inhabited areas. They are more closely related to Asian black bears than to the other American bear species, brown bears and polar bears. Black bears are highly dexterous and possess great physical strength. Their average lifespan in the wild is about 18 years.