University of Tennessee Looks Into Black Bear Issues in the Southern Appalachians

In *All by Ag is America

Black bears are an all too frequent problem for residents in the Southern Appalachians. And researchers from the University of Tennessee are collecting population data of Appalachian black bears to get an accurate population count. The program, the Southern Appalachian Cooperative Bear Study (SACBS), is it’s last year of the two-year study.

This project collects hair samples from bears without any direct interaction, as bears generally avoid humans.   Whereas previous methods for collecting population data involved trapping, sedating and giving each bear an ear tag,  now researchers have made barbed-wire snares, with a food reward hanging in the center.  As the bears come to get a sweet treat, they also leave their hair.

The hairs are collected and sent to a laboratory for DNA testing, which tells researchers where the bears have been, as well as how often they visit each snare site. This gives researchers a database of individuals from which they can calculate population density. The evidence here will give the agencies an accurate representation count of southern Appalachian black bears which will allow them to make the best management decisions possible.

If you would like to learn more about this project, read more here.

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