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Black bears in Arkansas: Characteristics of a successful translocation

December 29, 1998

In 1958, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began translocating black bears (Ursus americanus) from Minnesota to the Interior Highlands (Ozark and Ouachita mountains) of Arkansas where bears had been extirpated early in this century. This project continued for 11 years with little public imput, during which time an estimated 254 bears were released. We estimate there are now >2,500 bears in the Interior Highlands of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, making it one of the most successful translocations of a Carnivora. Factors that contributed to the success include use of wild-captured animals, elimination of major factors associated with extirpation, release into prime habitats within the former range, multiple release sites, release of 20–40 animals/year for eight years, and release of mostly males prior to release of mostly females. Studies on two allopatric populations demonstrate that they are now diverging in some demographic characteristics, including litter size, cub survivorship, and adult sex-ratio. Translocation of black bears to the Interior Highlands is successful in terms of numbers of animals, but it will not be truly successful until people accept black bears as part of the regional fauna. To that end, those associated with management and research of bears in Arkansas are now focussing on public education and control of nuisance bears.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1994
Title Black bears in Arkansas: Characteristics of a successful translocation
DOI 10.2307/1382549
Authors Kimberly G. Smith, Joseph D. Clark
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Mammalogy
Index ID 70170452
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

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