Science Spotlight

  • April 24, 2024

CDFW’s existing black bear management plan was last updated in 1998 and there have been significant advancements in scientific methodologies and wildlife population modeling since then. The new conservation plan incorporates these advancements and includes contemporary scientific methods like using an integrated population model to determine population sizes and trends. Integrated population models use multiple sources of data, are robust enough to account for changes in hunting opportunity and produce accurate estimates of California’s black bear population size. This approach allows the Department a strong basis for effective and evidence-based conservation and adaptive management.

The draft plan also calls for the creation of nine different Bear Conservation Regions throughout the state where bear populations would be monitored and potentially managed based on specific needs.

Among the goals identified in the draft plan are conserving the state’s black bear population and their habitats, recognizing black bears as an important game species and offering more educational and safe viewing opportunities for the public while minimizing human-black bear conflict.

In the coming weeks, CDFW will host a virtual informational public meeting to provide an overview of the draft plan. The most up-to-date information regarding this meeting will be posted on CDFW’s Public Notices and Meetings web page when the information becomes available.

Please locate the draft plan and options on how to provide public comment on the CDFW Black Bear page. CDFW is asking for comments to be provided by June 14, 2024.

Categories: General
  • May 10, 2021
Bear in a tree

A female black bear takes in her surroundings from the safety of a pine tree after being trapped, tagged and hazed by state parks and wildlife personnel last fall.

As the Lake Tahoe Basin’s black bears emerge from their winter slow-down and slumber, campground managers, biologists, park rangers and wildlife officers hope to have a new tool at their disposal to help manage the human-bear conflicts certain to arise this spring and summer: a growing catalogue of Tahoe’s bear population.

Since the fall of 2019, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California State Parks have teamed up to trap, tag and haze as many Tahoe bears as possible to identify individual bears, build a genetic database of the population, study its overall health, and whether related bears are passing down problem behaviors from one generation to the next. Eighteen bears have been trapped to date – four of those being recaptures. Genetic material is collected and each bear is outfitted with an identifying ear tag before release.

This May, CDFW will broaden the effort and team up with the U.S. Forest Service to trap, tag and haze additional bears within the Tahoe National Forest. The trapping takes place in short windows during the early spring and late fall off-seasons at Tahoe-area campgrounds. The bears are hazed – but not harmed – upon release to provide a negative human interaction and to see whether the experience will keep them away from campgrounds and people in the future.

In this video, Shelly Blair, CDFW’s wildlife biologist for El Dorado and Alpine counties, and Sarinah Simons, California State Parks Sierra District human-bear management specialist, explain the innovative collaboration and scientific work during trapping efforts last fall.


CDFW Photo

Categories: Science Spotlight
CDFW Science Institute logo


Receive Science Institute news by email.