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Environment

Living With The Black Bears In North Carolina

Can humans and black bears coexist? This question has become increasingly relevant in North Carolina as both the human and bear populations continue to grow. Black bears now live on about 60 percent of the state’s land and are very adaptable to different climates, which has led to an increase in human run-ins with black bears over the past two decades. 

An estimated 100 to 200 black bears live year round in Asheville, so what steps do humans need to take to adjust their behavior? Host Frank Stasio talks with two experts about their research on black bears and their tips for living responsibly with the animals.

Colleen Olfenbuttel is a black bear and furbearer biologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. She shares her research and quick tips, including the importance of bear-proof trash cans and keeping bird feeders down when bears are active. District wildlife biologist Justin McVey also joins the conversation. He works for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and helps resolve human-bear issues in the western part of the state.

Find tips on living with black bears peacefully on the BearWise website.

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