In my email today I received the latest addition of "The Cub Report", the monthly e-newsletter from the Great Smoky Mountains Association. The report includes some brief statistics on nuisance bears in the Smokies.
The GSMA reports that wildlife managers captured 21 bears (9 males, 8 females, and 4 unknowns) during 2009. Two bears were caught twice.
Bears are considered to be nuisance bears when they associate people with food, which means they have the potential to become dangerous.
Usually, wildlife managers examine and process the bears and then release them at or near the site of capture. Seven of the bears were released on-site, and 16 bears were moved to other parts of the park, far from the picnic areas, campgrounds, and parking lots they had come to know as their own personal cafés.
Bear populations have grown to record numbers across the Southern Appalachians. Wildlife biologists from the Southern Appalachian Bear Study Group agree that 2009's black bear population throughout the region appears to be the highest on record.
Bait station surveys in Great Smoky Mountains National Park reported more sightings of bears in 2009 than at any time since record keeping began in 1981. There are now estimates of nearly two thousand bears living within the park.
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