BearWise helps people live responsibly with black bears
BearWise is the black bear program you can trust for sound information and smart solutions that help people, neighborhoods and communities prevent problems with bears. BearWise was developed by bear experts from the Southeastern states and is supported by SEAFWA, the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
BearWise shares ways to prevent conflicts, provides resources to resolve problems, and encourages community initiatives to keep bears wild. Participating member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The Six BearWise Basics
The Black Bear Comeback
Black bears once roamed over all of America’s forested lands. But after European settlement, their numbers and habitat in the Southeast dwindled. Thanks to new attitudes and enlightened conservation and management efforts, black bears are making a dramatic comeback over much of their historic home range.
Now that bears are returning to areas they used to call home, it’s up to people and communities to learn how to peacefully coexist with these amazing animals.
Today the Southeast is home to more than 70,000 black bears
Estimated Number of Black Bears in the Southeastern States
Alabama 400 – 600
Arkansas 4,000 – 5,000
Louisiana 500 – 800
Mississippi 150 – 200
Missouri 300 – 350
North Carolina 17,000 – 20,000
South Carolina 800 – 1,200
Texas 50 – 500
West Virginia 12,000 – 14,000
As reported at the Eastern Black Bear Workshop, 2017