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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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Thursday, July 19, 2018

"An Auburn University study on the black bear population in Alabama shows a growing number of bears in northeast Alabama and a distinct genetic group in southwest Alabama"................"The state has two areas with bear populations: one with an estimated 30 bears centered around Little River Canyon near Fort Payne and another with an estimated 85 bears in Mobile and Washington counties north of Mobile"............."The latter number could be as high as 165"............."The north Alabama black bear population, which originally migrated from north Georgia, has more than doubled in the past four years"................“One interesting aspect we observed is that mother bears in north Alabama often have three or four cubs in a litter"...................“Normally a mother bear has only two cubs"................"The bears north of Mobile seem to be their own distinct group without any genetic connection to other bear populations"...................“We found high inbreeding in those bears"..............."They have the lowest genetic diversity of any comparison population in Southeast"

Black bears spreading across North Alabama

July 18th, 2018
Wildlife officials say black bears have been sighted this year in counties all across North Alabama, evidence the furry beast is expanding its range in the Yellowhammer State.

Jackson, Limestone, Marshall, Morgan and St. Clair counties are now on the growing list of black bear sightings this year, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
State biologists say the increase in sightings may be due to factors including changes in bear distribution, habitat fragmentation, seasonal movement and the summer mating season. However, most spring and summer bear sightings involve young males being pushed out on their own by their mothers and adult males, officials said.

Historically in Alabama, a small population of black bears has long existed in Mobile and Washington counties in the south end of the state, officials said. Baldwin, Covington and Escambia counties on the Florida border host another population of bears.
In Northeast Alabama near Chattanooga, bears migrating from Northwest Georgia have established a small but viable population, officials said. The two populations are genetically different, though their appearance is very similar.

"While seeing a black bear in Alabama is uncommon and exciting, it is no cause for alarm," state Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries conservation outreach specialist Marianne Hudson said. "There has never been a black bear attack on a human" in Alabama.
"If you are lucky enough to see a bear, simply leave it alone," Hudson said.
Wildlife officials in Tennessee and Georgia — where the bears have remained established in the Appalachians — also say black bear sightings and encounters with humans have been increasing, and the bears' range has been widening compared with past years. Officials have campaigned hard this year to warn residents what not to do when it comes to black bears.
In Alabama, the black bear is a species of highest conservation concern with no open hunting season. Shooting at one is a class A misdemeanor, officials said. Other penalties for shooting at a black bear include the loss of hunting and fishing license privileges for three years and possible jail time.
In 2012, sightings in DeKalb County's Little River Canyon National Preserve triggered an Auburn University study seeking real data on bear populations. At that time, sightings included a 230-pound male bear that was killed by a car in 2011 on Alabama Highway 35, following by another on Alabama Highway 9 between Centre and Piedmont in May 2012.

The 2012 study looked at the bear population and genetics in the 14,000-acre preserve between Fort Payne and the Alabama-Georgia state line, according to Alabama Resources Management officials.
Experts in 2012 believed there were a dozen or fewer black bears in the preserve, but the Associated Press in November 2014 reported that the research showed the national preserve had become home to 26 black bears for at least the prior two years.
The Little River black bear population is believed to be the largest in the state. Smaller numbers can be found in the Saraland area, the AP reported.
Thanks to grant funding from the National Park Service, Little River Canyon is installing game cameras and bear-hair snares. The Auburn researchers will collect the images and samples, eventually sending the hair to the University of Idaho for genetic analysis.
Those who have seen a bear in their neighborhood, on their property or crossing a road are encouraged to report the sighting to their local Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries District Office. This information helps biologists document black bear movement and distribution.
For bear sightings by residents of Cherokee, DeKalb and Jackson counties, call the District 2 Office in Jacksonville at 256-435-5422.

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