Demographic and Genetic Characteristics of a Recolonizing Black Bear Population in Eastern Kentucky

Black bears are thought to have become extinct in Kentucky before 1900 as a result of overhunting and forest loss. Bears began a steady recolonization of the state from neighboring WV and VA in the late 1990’s, with relative bear numbers highest in the southeastern counties. As bear numbers have grown, so have complaints of human-bear conflict, and interest in hunting the species. Our research led by doctoral student Sean Murphy in conjunction with KDFWR uses a combination of live capture and non-invasive hair snares to estimate regional population size and characterize demographics (e.g. male:female ratio) so as to inform state wildlife managers tasked with management of this species.

John J. Cox, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Wildlife and Conservation Biology
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