Black Bear Task Force - Status of Black Bear in Maryland
Status of Black Bear in Maryland
The portion of the eastern North American black bear population found in western Maryland has been expanding since the early 1980s due to improving habitat conditions and influx of bears from surrounding states in the Appalachian Highland region. Maryland's bear population is contained primarily in the western four counties, with the majority of the bears found in Garrett and western Allegany counties. Maryland's bear population is estimated to be between 266 and 437 animals. The black bear population in Maryland from Cumberland west to the West Virginia state line is estimated to be 227 bears (27.3 per 100 square miles), with a 95 % probability that it ranges from 166-337. This represents a density of 20.0 - 40.6 bears per 100 square miles. That estimate is similar to the black bear density reported for southwestern Pennsylvania (MD DNR). According to Mark Ternent, black bear biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, black bear populations average 21.7 bears per 100 square miles in Somerset, Fayette and Westmoreland counties, which are adjacent to and north of Garrett County.
For additional information regarding the status of black bears in Maryland refer to Appendix B (Black Bear Population Status Report - January 28, 2002, MDDNR).
In January of 1992, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) released the Black Bear Management Plan. Prior to developing this plan, the Wildlife & Heritage Service (WHS) conducted a series of public meetings across Maryland in an effort to gauge public opinion toward the bear resource in the state. Many issues raised were incorporated into the development of the plan.
The black bear is a species that generates serious discussion in western Maryland. Since the development of the 1992 plan, black bears have continued to spread eastward in Maryland. The expanding bear population has resulted in additional concerns being expressed by western Maryland residents, as well as those experiencing bears for the first time (DNR).
The Black Bear Management Plan reviewed the past history of this species in Maryland. It presented factual information regarding ongoing research activities. It also listed major goals, objectives, and strategies to be used to meet these objectives.
DNR staff, especially western Maryland field staff, has dedicated much time to managing the black bear resource since this plan was implemented. Some of these activities have been very successful, and the major accomplishments can be found in Appendix C (MDDNR Black Bear Management Plan, 1992-2001, Summary of Activities).
All contents (c) 2003 Maryland Department of Natural Resources. All
This page last updated April 01, 2003