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Black Bear Program

Living with Black Bears Pamphlet

Report Black Bear Sighting

Mississippi is actually home to two subspecies of black bears.  The American black bear (Ursus americanus) occurs in the more northern counties of the state and is listed as state endangered.  The Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) is found in the southern half of the state and is listed as federally threatened under the terms of the Endangered Species Act.  The two subspecies of bears are basically indistinguishable to the naked eye.

The MDWFP Black Bear Program was started in June of 2002 at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.  The initial focus of the program was to conduct research on Mississippi black bears in an effort to learn more about this endangered species.  At the time of the program's inception, it was estimated that there were less than 50 bears residing in the state.  Today, estimates of our bear population have more than doubled.  This population increase is due primarily to the recent appearance of female bears in our state which has led to the births of numerous cubs in the last several years, something not documented in Mississippi in the previous 40 years.  Additionally, general sightings of bears have increased dramatically all over the state, likely due to dispersing bears from populations in neighboring states.  The Black Bear Program is now housed within the Wildlife Bureau of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and continues to conduct research and educate the people of Mississippi about our black bears.  Another primary objective of the program is the prevention of conflicts between bears and people.

If you are experiencing problems involving black bears or want to report a recent bear sighting, please contact MDWFP Main Office at 601-432-2400.


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