Program Specific Mammal Research
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General Mammal Research Topics
Mississippi Black Bear Research and
(2002 - 2007)
Black bears were once plentiful throughout Mississippi. The hunting of black bears from horseback in Mississippi gave rise to legends in American folklore and spawned the creation of the world's most popular children's toy, the Teddy Bear. Sadly, overhunting and loss of habitat led to the near extinction of the black bear throughout Mississippi. Currently, the population of black bears in Mississippi is estimated at roughly 60 animals.
The MMNS black bear research and conservation project was
started in June of 2002. The project focuses on conducting research
to learn more about the endangered black bears that inhabit
Mississippi and to educate the citizens of the state about black
bears through outreach and education efforts.
Goals and Objectives
Articles About Mississippi Black Bears
Links of Interest
(2003 - 2007)
Worldwide there are nearly 1,000 bat species representing almost a quarter of all mammal species. They are the second largest order of mammals in number of species, (second only to rodents) and can occupy virtually every habitat worldwide except in the most extreme desert and polar regions. Forty-five bat species are native to the United States with 15 living in the southeast. Nearly 40% of these species are threatened or endangered, and around the world, many more are declining at alarming rates. Six U.S. species are listed as endangered and 20 are considered species of special concern by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Out of the 15 bat species found in Mississippi, 2 are endangered and 7 more are species of special concern.
The two primary causes for bat population declines are habitat destruction and poor public image. Most bat species rely heavily on forested habitats to provide both roosting and foraging sites. With the growth of human development and current silvicultural practices, suitable bat habitat is declining. Poor public opinion is a secondary cause for bat population declines. For thousands of years bats have been the subject of wrongful persecution and unnecessary fear from the general public. For many, the idea of a bat conjures up the image of a blind, flying rodent who gets entangled in peoples' hair and is a primary carrier of rabies. These fears and superstitions are bred through misunderstanding and lack of knowledge for a diverse and ecological beneficial group of animals. Education of the public and research regarding bat habitat needs are essential to aid in the conservation of this fascinating group of animals.
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science contributes to the conservation of bats through both research and education. Bat conservation projects conducted in the last 5 years include:
Links of Interest