Black bears said to be on the rise in Mississippi

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Populations of black bears are expected to grow as we move into the animal’s breeding season.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, bears from Louisiana and Alabama are moving into Mississippi as young males are pushed from the care of their mothers to find their own territory.

This increase in the number of black bears is expected to create a situation where people and bears come into contact with each other more often.

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While attacks by black bears are said to be rare, they do occur.

This week two fatal attacks were reported in Alaska, according to a story released by the Associated Press.

One of the attacks was described as predatory in nature, and involved a mountain race participant who left the trail and became lost.

Typically bears attack when they have cubs to protect; engaging in predatory attacks is uncommon for black bears, the story states.

The second attack involved the death of a contract gold miner. Another miner was allegedly injured in that same attack.

As a result of the expected increase in the black bear population, representatives with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks shared some tips to avoid potentially harmful interactions with these animals.

Most of the time black bears will move to another area on their own when they see humans.

In those instances it’s best to let the animal leave the area.

Other times a bear may act defensively, such as by snapping its jaws or doing small pushups.

The MDWFP website states that the best course of action when encountering a black bear is to make lots of noise and make large gestures from a safe distance.

If the bear does not leave the area or acts aggressively, seek shelter in a building or vehicle and report the incident to MDWFP at 1-800-BE-SMART.