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Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The North Georgia Black Bear population is expanding and pushing young bears to find territories in and around suburban Atlantla...............Kicked out of their dens in their second year by their mothers, and possibly pushed out of the North Georgia mountains by older dominant males, youngsters may be seeking new territory to the south.And to a bear.......... The Atlanta area is a big all-you-can-eat buffet of bird seed, pet food and garbage........That's one of the biggest problems with bears in metro area........If a bear in the mountains gets into someone's trash, usually you can deal with it by getting residents to remove food sources........But in the metro area, with people and pets and houses and bird feeders, there's just so much there, it's just an endless supply of food...

In metro Atlanta, that bear out there may be a year-round neighbor

  • A trail camera belonging to Johns Creek resident John McCormick captured images of a black bear rooting around in his front yard early Saturday morning, Aug. 27, 2011.
 A trail camera belonging to Johns Creek resident John McCormick captured images of a black bear rooting around in his front yard early Saturday morning, Aug. 27, 2011.
State wildlife biologists say black bears like the one that made himself at home this summer in the northern Perimeter area could be finding suburban Atlanta a nice, cozy place to settle down. So far, there are anecdotal signs pointing to the beginnings of a year-around bear presence in the suburbs. "We're seeing indicators that it's happening here and there," Adam Hammond, wildlife biologist for the state Department of Natural Resources, told the AJC in a phone interview.
"Every piece of information we collect about bears points to the same thing, that their population has grown tremendously" in the North Georgia mountains, Hammond said -- and with that comes pressure on younger animals to migrate south.

One ursine in particular became a local celebrity, sighted by police and residents in August in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Johns Creek and unincorporated Fulton County near Roswell.Authorities speculated the bear had wandered in from the west, following the Chattahoochee River upstream. Eventually, they said, the animal would return to its home territory in the mountains. Maybe he did; sightings fell off after the first week in September. And maybe he didn't.

DNR estimates that Georgia is home to at least 5,100 bears. About 4,000 live in North Georgia, up from roughly 1,200 four to five years ago, Hammond said. Researchers say the animals are expanding nationwide, and have shown up in such other areas as Birmingham and Tulsa, Okla. Locally, they've been sighted across the northern tier of suburbs, in such counties as Cobb, Cherokee, Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett. "If you're somewhere around Canton or the north side of Atlanta, you're more likely to have bears than the south side [of the region]," Hammond said. "But there's really nowhere in the state where I would be surprised to see a bear."

Why the boom in bruins? No one knows for certain, but it's possibly because the animals aren't as widely hunted as they once were. There was bear poaching, and many property owners considered the animals varmints and shot them whenever they encountered them, but both forms of killing have declined. The animals can be taken legally in Georgia during bear season, but legal hunting hasn't kept pace.

So, rapid population growth is putting pressure on young male bears. Kicked out of their dens in their second year by their mothers, and possibly pushed out of the North Georgia mountains by older dominant males, youngsters may be seeking new territory to the south.And to a bear, the Atlanta area is a big all-you-can-eat buffet of bird seed, pet food and garbage."That's one of the biggest problems with bears in metro area," Hammond said. "If we get a bear in the mountains getting into someone's trash … usually we can deal with it by getting residents to remove food sources.""But in the metro area, with people and pets and houses and bird feeders, there's just so much there, it's just an endless supply of food."

So how can people tell if there's a bear out there taking up permanent residence? "This time of the year, if there are bears hanging out in the metro area, chances are they live there," Hammond said. Another tip-off, he said, would be a known den site -- none have been reported yet in the metro area -- "or if people see sows (female bears) with cubs in the spring."

There has never been an unprovoked bear attack on a human in Georgia. But danger could arise if bears become accustomed to humans supplying them with food. "The best thing people can do is just basically allow the bear to remain wild," Hammond said. "Don't do anything to tame the bears. Don't feed the bears on purpose. Don't allow the bears to continually get into your garbage or bird feeders."

"Bears have an innate fear of people, but over time with food, they can loose that fear, and that's not a good thing for the bear or for people. You just need to respect them and give them their space."

More information about black bears in Georgia is available at the Department of Natural Resources website.

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