Northeastern California Black Bear

In collaboration with Humboldt State University, the Integral Ecology Research Center, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife(CDFW), SCI Foundation will help shed light on bear demographics in northern California.  Researchers intend to determine how black bears from Nevada and Oregon are entering the Warner Mountains inside the Modoc National Forest.

Species involved: Black Bear

Project partners: Integral Ecology Research Center, Humboldt State University, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Total SCIF Investment: $50,000 (Funded by HLF) (Future funding need: $50,000)

Year SCIF began involvement: 2017 (Project timeline: 2017-2018)


Project Objectives

1) Estimate abundance and sex ratio of black bears in northeastern California.

2) Collect and build a database of bear DNA within the study area and estimate emigration rate.

3) Engage local stakeholders in potential bear harvest management.


Anticipated Outcomes

This project will help determine when a black bear hunting season can potentially be established in the northeast counties of California. In addition, comparative evaluation of survey methods will guide future management actions.


Recent Project Update

We received a final report on the abundance and demographic surveys of black bears in California. This study used camera surveys to estimate abundance of bears in an area that was being considered for opening of bear harvest and was close to a larger area being surveyed by CDFW. The researchers placed 40 camera survey stations and monitored over 7‐8 weeks in the late summer and fall of 2017. They estimated bear density at 0.09 bears/km2 and found that observed bear density was highest at mid‐elevations and that bears were more abundant closer to primary roads. In addition to bears, the researchers documented 17 other species on camera, including mountain lions, badgers, bobcats, and spotted skunks.

Want to learn more about the project?  Visit SCIF’s  First for Wildlife blog.