How Many Black Bears Live in Texas?

TAXAS - Texas bears are rare; black bears can be found throughout North America, but their presence is limited and rarely witnessed by humans.  Classified as endangered species, black bears mainly inhabit Appalachia of the Eastern United States and parts of Canada that border the Northern Pacific Coast.

How Many Black Bears Live in Texas?

Texas's ever-evolving black bear population fluctuates depending on year and location. Seasonal/transitional sightings can often be observed during spring and summer when bears re-establish home ranges or search for food sources; long-term occupied or newly established areas are more likely to experience bear sightings than non-occupied zones.

Big Bend National Park In West Texas during the 1940s and 1950s, black bear populations suffered greatly due to overhunting, habitat loss, and competition with an ever-increasing human population.

But since 2000, bears have slowly begun returning to Big Bend National Park's Chisos Mountains, where they now thrive despite these challenges. National Park Services estimates 30-40 black bears are currently living there.

Borderlands Research at Sul Ross State University has joined forces with landowners and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to study black bears in Far West Texas to understand their ecology better and prevent conflicts between human beings and these predatory mammals.

East Texas - Over time, East Texas' black bear population has diminished; however, experts remain hopeful they may return as populations have increased due to the recolonization of species in Louisiana and Arkansas.

Recolonizing bears has been an impressive accomplishment but has presented some unique challenges. Wilkerson notes that bears require large wilderness areas to flourish. Still, these often collide with human interests - particularly in more densely populated East Texas regions.