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Historically, black bears (Ursus americanus) were abundant and occurred throughout Alabama. By the beginning of the 20th Century, bear populations were nearly depleted throughout the state with the exception of the extensive forested swamps of south Alabama. Over the past two decades, the majority of bear sightings in Alabama have been reported from the southwestern corner of the state, particularly from Mobile County. However, bear sightings and accounts have been reported infrequently from other portions of the state. Maintaining accounts and reports of black bears in a central databank is crucial for documenting the occurrence, examining the movement, and illustrating the distribution pattern of the species in Alabama. Additionally, the establishment of a central repository of bear sightings will help to ensure that important records and accounts are not lost over time.
During a November 2003 meeting of the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) and the Alabama Black Bear Alliance (ABBA) (a consortium of state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, academia, private landowners, and forest industry that is committed to the conservation of black bears), it was recognized that a central repository or database was needed in order to track all black bear sightings. ALNHP agreed to create and maintain a database of black bear sightings in addition to establishing a reporting protocol. Since that meeting, ALNHP developed a black bear report form, and created an Access geodatabase for archiving bear sightings in a GIS compatible database that facilitates the easy creation of bear sighting distribution maps.
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2010