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Managing Maine’s Black Bear Population [VIDEO]

Photo, Susan Patten, Townsquare Media

They have been tracking and examining Maine’s black bear population since 1975 in the longest running biological study in the United States.

Don’t be mistaken though, this is not a desk job.

Wildlife biologists with the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department (IF&W) have tracked over 3,000 bears to determine their health and well being, and to learn more about the number of bears entering the population.

According to statistics provided by IF&W biologists, since 2004, Maine black bears have been doing well with an estimated population of 30,000 animals in 2010.

If the bear population becomes too dense, that’s when conflicts start to happen. Those conflicts can involve more human encounters, as well as competition for resources.

IF & W Bear biologist Randy Cross says they’re all interested in the welfare of Maine black bears and their job is to maintain a balance.

“A lot of people don’t realize the negative effects of not removing bears to control the population,” states Cross. “At some point bears will be suffering because there are too many bears and not enough food, and that leads to starvation and disease.”

Cross goes on to explain the state has used hunting as a management tool to control the bear population for years.

Some, however, are opposed to the traditional methods of bear hunting which include baiting, trapping, and hunting with dogs.

According to department stats, despite ample opportunity, the bear still comes out ahead of the hunter.

For more information on supporting black bear conservation you can visit www.blackbearsociety.org

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