Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Human-Wildlife Conflicts Volume 1, Number 1, Pages 9–12, Spring 2007. Published and copyright by the Jack H. Berryman Institute. http://www.berrymaninstitute.org/journal/index.html


In the 1800s, bears were almost eliminated from the United States because they were seen as a threat to humans and livestock and were labeled pests. Now, bear populations are growing and becoming more widely dispersed. Their numbers are increasing and continually extending into new territories, including suburban areas. Suburban developments also are expanding into already established bear territory. This helps to explain that while state wildlife agencies estimate bear populations have increased 12% nationally during the past 5 years, bear complaints have increased 19%, personnel hours to resolve complaints have increased 22%, and state agency expenditures to control bear damage have increased 40% (Figure 1).