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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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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tennessee Wildlife Officials appreciate that when Black Bears wander into towns adjacent to open space areas like the Smokey Mountains, the best policy is to encourage the Bears to keep moving and get them pointed back into the surrounding forest................Strict garbage disposal rules combined with education about leaving out foodstuffs of any kind seem to be working in keeping conflicts with people at a minimum............Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Sgt. Roy Smith states that "Bears don't want to be in these areas just as we don't want them here".............. "In my ten years here, I'm not aware of any human-bear interactions that became dangerous".............." Bears are naturally timid and skittish creatures and generally afraid of people"

Tennessee has a benign Black Bear Co-Existance Policy

In cities surrounded by good bear habitat, wildlife officials generally let bears keep moving

A black bear investigates a backyard grill in north Oak Ridge in May 2012. To encourage bears to move on, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency recommends trying to eliminate outdoor food sources such as dog and cat food, bird seed, and grease traps. (Photo by George Ostrouchov)

Oak Ridge and Knoxville are surrounded by very good bear habitats—including the largest black bear preserve in the world—and it's not unusual to see up to a half-dozen bears come through the Oak Ridge area each year and at least that many in the Knoxville area, Tennessee wildlife officials said this week.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Sgt. Roy Smith of Morristown said the bear seen in Oak Ridge on Monday was not the first in the area this summer, and there have also been a few in Anderson County."It's not an isolated incident," Smith said. "We have bears moving through Oak Ridge from time to time."Bears have also recently been reported in Andersonville, Claxton, Coalfield, Solway, and Knoxville.

The surrounding bear habitat includes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the south, which is the largest black bear preserve in the world; the Cherokee National Forest to the east, a good, large bear habitat; and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area to the north.

Smith said there are a few bears that live year-round in the northwest part of Anderson County around New River and Devonia."Sometimes, those bears will find their way down the mountain," Smith said.

He said the bears seen in populated areas are often young male bears between 1.5 to 2 years old that have been weaned from their mothers and weigh about 150 pounds. There is a period during the summer when there is not a lot of natural food available, and the juvenile male bears are pushed out of good habitats by adult males. The yearlings set out to find their own territory and are often seen in local cities in July and August.

"Bears don't want to be in these areas just as we don't want them here," Smith said.
In the 10 years he's been working here, Smith said, he's not aware of any human-bear interactions that became dangerous. Bears are naturally timid and skittish creatures and generally afraid of people.

Still, wildlife officials recommend that people stay away from the bears.
"Give them a wide berth," TWRA Wildlife Officer Jason Lankford said.

To encourage the bears to continue moving, the TWRA recommends residents put away their trash and try to eliminate other outdoor food sources. Lankford said bears love to eat cat and dog food, bird seed, and whatever they can find in grease traps.

The TWRA said it generally lets the bears move out on their own as long as they keep moving.
"Generally speaking, if those bears are left alone, those bears will move through," Smith said.
The TWRA occasionally moves the animals if they find a consistent food source and aren't moving. In that case, they can become habituated to people."If they're causing problems or they're staying in the area, not moving, we generally remove them," Smith said.
The TWRA said people who see bears can call the agency because wildlife workers want to know if the bears, which can cover 20-30 miles per day, are continuing to move.
There were also several reports of bears in Oak Ridge in the late spring last year.

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