Visitor Counter

hitwebcounter web counter
Visitors Since Blog Created in March 2010

Click Below to:

Add Blog to Favorites

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

Subscribe via email to get updates

Enter your email address:

Receive New Posting Alerts

(A Maximum of One Alert Per Day)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

University of Georgia scientists are studying the habits of Black Bears in Central Georigia where a Route 96 road widening project could have adverse impacts on the Bruins..........The bear population in middle Georgia is among the most isolated populations in the southeastern U.S.and therefore it is particularly susceptible to changes in land use and human activities.............10 of the 20 Black Bears that were killed by car collisions between 2003 and 2009 occurred where the lane widening is planned....The Georgia Dept. of transportation has planned 7 wildlife underpasses throughout the Route 96 project with the hope that they will mitigate Bear/vehicle collisions going forward.

UGA researchers to study black bears in central Georgia

uga news service
Georgia Black Bear

University of Georgia researchers have received a combined $701,000 in state grants to study the black bear population in middle Georgia—of particular concern in light of plans to widen a 15-mile stretch of road through a portion of the animal’s habitat.
The joint project, headed by scientists in the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, will focus on evaluating the effects of widening state Route 96 on bear movements while also estimating the size of the population in several counties, assessing their survival rates and studying their reproductive patterns.

The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division through the Wildlife Restoration Program has committed $324,000, and the Georgia Department of Transportation is funding the research at $377,000. The joint project is expected to take three years. Michael Chamberlain, Karl Miller and Robert Warren—all wildlife researchers at the Warnell School—will be conducting the study with graduate students Mike Hooker and Josh Sylvest.

Black Bears will look to cross roads

As part of the research, black bears will be trapped, tagged for radio-telemetry tracking and identified by their DNA using hair samples, and their dens will be monitored.

“The bear population in middle Georgia is among the most isolated populations in the southeastern U.S., so it is particularly susceptible to changes in land use and human activities,” Chamberlain said. “To ensure sustainable management of this bear population, it is critical to keep tabs on patterns of survival and reproduction and to assess how environmental factors influence this sustainability.”
The black bear population in the U.S. is very fragmented, he said, and the area it once occupied is now 90 percent uninhabitable to the bears. Most populations are found on public land.

Georgia has three distinct black bear populations: in the Appalachian Mountains, near the Ocmulgee River drainage system and near the Okefenokee Swamp. The Ocmulgee population numbers about 300 bears, although an earlier estimate put that figure at 200. The Warnell School researchers plan to conduct another population estimate on black bears within the Ocmulgee River region, including private land in Twiggs, Houston, Bibb, Bleckley and Pulaski counties. They also plan to assess the survival rates and the reproductive ecology by studying den selection, cub production and cub survival.

Researchers are also investigating ways to minimize potential effects of the widening of state Route 96. This 15-mile section will be expanded from two lanes to a four-lane connection between Interstate 16 and I-75, passing through a known habitat area for the central Georgia black bear population, which is the smallest in the state. Between 2003 and 2009, 10 of the 20 confirmed black bears killed by collisions with vehicles were along this stretch of road.

 Black Bear killed by auto collision

Widening state Route 96 will increase how much paved surface bears must cross. Because of this, the Georgia DOT included seven underpasses in the design with the hopes of providing bears with safer crossings. The UGA researchers will monitor the movements of a sample of collared bears to determine if the culverts are keeping the Bears safe.

No comments: