Looking out for new visitors to the region

By Carla Bass

newcomerNathan Garner, chairman of Texas Black Bear Alliance, joined the Cypress Basin Texas Master Naturalists on Monday evening, February 13th, for a presentation on black bears. Approximately 125 interested individuals were in attendance at the Jefferson Visitors Center.


The Texas Black Bear Alliance seeks to promote the restoration of black bears in suitable habitats throughout its historic range in Texas through cooperative partnerships using education, research and habitat management.


It needs to be understood that at this time the black bears are re-colonizing into Texas from Mexico and from other states where they are more abundant. Black bears were once part of an intact food-chain. They are native to the US and are found all over North America, but their numbers have declined over the years due to their greatest enemy, the American hunter. The bears still remain in the protected mountains and woodlands of parks and preserves. Bears that wander outside the parks have found new territories.


Black bears are occasionally seen in East Texas forests, having naturally roamed into the area from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. There is room for them to free-roam in Texas in areas which are suitable habitats in rural Texas.


Surprisingly, only 12% of their food is animal matter…

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