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)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Biologists say that the Virginia Black Bear population is increasing by 9% annually........Estimates of 17,000 bears in the State occupying 92 of the 98 Counties there............

Bear numbers on rise in Central Va.

by Emily Darrell

Last week a black bear was spotted crossing the road in western Powhatan County, near the intersection of Trenholm and Ballsville roads. Fifty years ago this sighting would have been pretty remarkable.  Twenty years ago? It still would have been fairly strange.

But if Virginia's bear population keeps doing what it's been doing – increasing by about nine percent a year – these sightings could become more common. In the last two months, three black bears have been struck by motorists on Richmond-area highways. One was hit on I-295 on the Henrico Hanover line, one on I-64 near Gaskins Road, and another on I-95 near Ashland.

Of the three bear species native to North America– the polar bear, the brown bear, and the black bear – only the black bear is native to Virginia. Throughout the 1800's and early 1900's unregulated hunting and forest destruction contributed to the sharp decline of bear populations throughout the eastern U.S.

 In some of the more remote areas of Virginia, primarily the Alleghany Mountains and the Great Dismal Swamp region, black bears always retained a foothold. But in other parts of the state, such as Central Virginia, black bear populations had at one point dwindled to where spotting one in the wild was an extremely rare occurrence.

Conservation efforts over the past centurhave made a dramatic difference. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) there are now more than 17,000 black bears across the state, and black bear sightings have been confirmed in at least 92 of Virginia'counties. In the  1970's less than 500 bears per year were harvested in Virginia; each year from 2008-2011 this number was greater than 2,000.

While VDGIF views the comeback of the black bear as a mostly positive thing, they hope, as much as possible, to contain its territory to areas without a dense human population. They state that "bear management objectives have changed from restoring to stabilizing populations over much of the Commonwealth." The organization is currently seeking citizen input for its Black Bear Management Plan for 2012-2021.

VDGIF has information on its website for those interested in learning more about black bears, including tips on how to keep safe. It is noted, however, that no unprovoked bear attacks have ever been documented in Virginia.

No comments: