Black Bears are Back!

May. 5, 2013

Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Wildlife

Well before Ohio became a state, most of the land was covered by forest. This forest was perfect habitat for black bears. There were so many black bears living in Ohio then that Native Americans used them as a source of food and skins. The only other large animal that the Indians used more was the white-tailed deer.

But as the land was cleared of trees to make room for farms and cities, black bears slowly disappeared. By about the year 1850 there were no black bears left in Ohio because their habitat had been destroyed.

The good news today is that black bears are back in Ohio! There are about 100 black bears now living in the wild in our state. Some female bears, known as sows, have been seen with cubs, so wildlife biologists know that bears are reproducing and the population is growing. Bears have returned because some forests, their habitat, have grown back.

During 2012, ODNR received 224 sightings reported from an estimated 93 black bears in 2012. Sixty-five of the 224 sightings reported were confirmed by Division of Wildlife personnel.




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