Black bears in Mississippi: State program works to get new count

MISSISSIPPI (WCBI) – Mississippi is home to all sorts of wildlife. But did you know that also includes bears?

An unknown number of black bears call the Magnolia State home.

The Black Bear Program of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks is working on getting a new count.

Anthony Ballard, the leader of that program, was in Starkville educating local residents on the creatures.

The largest concentrations are found along the Mississippi River in the Delta.

Black bears tend to be shy, for bears. They usually stay away from people, but this time of year young males are dispersing and finding their own territories, and that sometimes moves them into ours.

Ballard said those contacts might be scary, but they don’t have to be dangerous.

“Black bears are not confrontational, you know, they don’t want to be around people. It’s best to just move away in a calm fashion; maybe speak softly, let the bear know that you’re moving away, and shouldn’t have any kind of conflict,” said Ballard.

Bear sightings are rare in our area, but there were some reports last Fall in Noxubee County.

Ballard said try not to leave anything out that might attract them, like pet food or food in your trash.

A bear’s sense of smell is seven times more sensitive than a dog’s.

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Categories: Local News, State News