How Many Bears Live in Indiana?

How Many Bears Live in Indiana?INDIANA STATE - Historically, black bears (Ursus americanus) were abundant across Indiana, excluding the northwest prairies.  However, by 1850, unregulated hunting and habitat loss had destroyed them from the state and much of the Midwest.

How Many Bears Live in Indiana?
How Many Bears Live in Indiana?

Black Bears in Indiana: A Rare Sight, But On the Rise

While Indiana doesn't have a resident black bear population today, there have been a handful of confirmed sightings in recent years. These sightings suggest that black bears expand their range from neighboring states and occasionally venture into Indiana.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed five black bear sightings in modern history, with the most recent occurring in June 2023 in southwestern Indiana. Before that, in 2015, a young male bear wandered through northern Indiana for several months.

Black bears are considered a species of particular concern in Indiana and are protected under state law. This protection prohibits the taking of a black bear except under specific circumstances and with a permit issued by the DNR.

Although rare, the recent increase in sightings suggests that black bears may slowly return to Indiana. The DNR actively monitors these occurrences and encourages residents to report any sightings.

If you encounter a black bear in Indiana, it's essential to remain calm and avoid approaching the animal. Remember, they are wild animals and should be treated with respect. The DNR advises keeping a safe distance, securing attractants like garbage and bird feeders, and reporting the sighting to the authorities.

While the future of black bears in Indiana remains uncertain, the recent sightings offer a glimmer of hope for the return of this iconic species to the state. Black bears may once again establish a permanent presence in Indiana as their populations continue to expand in neighboring states.