Foundation supports the natural re-colonization of Missouri black bears with educational programs, public awareness and field research
COLUMBIA, Mo. –– A new foundation has been formed to help educate Missourians about the growing black bear population in the state and to foster an understanding for the habitats in which they live and thrive.
The Missouri Black Bear Foundation (MBBF) is a 501(c)(3) organization that aids in communication to the public and landowners about conservation efforts being implemented as the black bear population re-populates Missouri. The Foundation will be launching educational programs, conducting public outreach, and coordinating field research in partnership with other conservation agencies in helping Missourians better understand and live with black bears.
“We currently have an existing black bear population of at least 275 in the state, and that number appears to be growing,” said Jeff Beringer, Resource Scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. “We see this citizens group dedicated to the bear’s recovery as a positive development for the species, and for conservation in general.”
Black bears appear to be making a comeback in Missouri after being nearly eliminated from the landscape in the last century. In fact, new research using DNA analysis suggests that descendants of Missouri’s original black bear population may have survived in a part of the Ozarks for more than a century. Re-introduction efforts in Arkansas during the 1960s have also led to the re-appearance of black bears in the state.
“Rebuilding the black bear population, what they need to survive in their natural habitat and what we can do to educate people to help minimize conflicts with bears is the main goal of MBBF,” said Terry Woodruff, Founder of the Missouri Black Bear Foundation. “Through MBBF’s time and resources, we can help track and learn more about how to support the return of this iconic animal to the state of Missouri.”
Today, black bears are being sighted with increasing frequency. Through education, people can be more aware of what to do when a bear is sighted. With the help of the MBBF, Missourians can help the population of black bears while minimizing conflicts with humans and assuring public safety.
For information about black bears and the Black Bear Foundation, go to http://moblackbears.org.