Black Bear Population Study
A project to learn more about the movements and habitat types of black bear populations in our region makes its way to the Talladega National Forest. The Munford Schools has partnered with Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to study black bear populations in the Talladega National Forest. Science Resource teacher Kimberly Murray says the project’s main component is to collect DNA and behavior information from as much of the Alabama bear populations as possible at man-made sites. She says her students goals are to set up 10 sites throughout the forest. Murray says the project will use hair snares acquired from bears that get close to a 25 meter barb wire perimeter with sweet and savory traps. The study will continue to be conducted during the fall months because bears are typically more active in their search for food before hibernation. According to Murray, the information gained is vital to generating wildlife management plans that will work for the surrounding communities. The results will be extended to outreach materials to help educate the public about living alongside bears. Murray says knowing how many individual black bears exist in our region, and whether they are settled in the area or transient will be crucial for planning how to manage bears.