Innovative BearWise initiative expands across the United States

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is pleased to announce that BearWise has now been adopted by 39 states and is being used by people across the country. BearWise meets the growing need for consistent information on living responsibly with black bears. This innovative program provides information backed by solid science and helpful resources that provide individuals, neighborhoods, communities, and businesses with practical ways to prevent human-bear conflict and help keep bears in the wild.

“BearWise offers a wealth of useful information and smart solutions that help homeowners, businesses and communities coexist with bears,” said Curt Melcher, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “This program provides information that people can understand and trust, and resources and tools that people can use with confidence. The Association is proud to be part of such an impressive program.”

Black bears were once found throughout the wooded lands of the United States, but as the country became more colonized, bear populations declined. Today, thanks to new attitudes and decades of enlightened conservation and management, black bears have made a dramatic comeback across much of their historic range and are returning to many places where they have not been seen in decades. Once again, there are established bear populations in at least 40 states and frequent sightings in several more. More people than ever are living, visiting, and spending time outdoors in bear country. The combination of more people in bear country and more bears living closer to people creates greater potential for human-bear interactions and conflict. The need for a trusted national resource that provides scientifically sound information on living responsibly with bears and avoiding conflict has never been greater.

“It’s not enough for a state wildlife agency to simply educate people about bears. We need you to take action. BearWise provides many resources that help people prevent conflict in their homes and communities, as well as when spending time outdoors in bear country. Agencies also benefit when visitors from BearWise states travel and contribute their knowledge. Being BearWise is a way of life,” said Dan Gibbs, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Black Bear Program Leader and BearWise Program Committee Chair.

BearWise was developed by bear biologists at the state agency who wanted to ensure that no matter where people lived, played or traveled, they received the same consistent message about co-existing with bears. Today, the BearWise program is managed by a team of North American bear biologists and communication professionals and is supported by the Association and the wildlife agencies of BearWise member states.

Visit and find out why people across North America trust BearWise for reliable information and resources they can use.

Read this featured article on the BearWise Program to learn more about all that BearWise has to offer.

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BearWise® Created by bear biologists. With the support of state wildlife agencies.
Dedicated to helping people live responsibly with black bears.


The BearWise® name and logos are registered trademarks of AWARE, the American Wildlife Resource Education Association.

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies— the organization representing North America’s fish and wildlife agencies — promotes sound resource management and conservation, and speaks out on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at www.fishwildlife.orgOn Facebook /Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and on twitter @fishwildlife.