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Black bear incidents in Utah nearly double in 2019

Posted at 7:33 AM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 09:33:32-05

SALT LAKE CITY - The number of reported black bear incidents in Utah has nearly doubled in 2019 from 2018.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says the total number of black bear incidents reported as of November 7th was 53 statewide. In 2018, only 27 total black bear incidents were reported.

"We have seen an increase in bear population probably over the last decade or so," said Darren DeBloois, Game and Mammal Program Coordinator with DWR.

While the majority of reported incidents were of bears searching for food in garbage, campground or neighborhoods, there were two incidents that involved a bear making physical contact with a person.

So why are we seeing the herbivores more than usual? DeBloois says it's pretty simple.

"More bears being born!" he said.

According to the DWR, biologists believe there are several other reasons for this year's increase; the length of winter hibernations, drought, and lack of natural foods that push them to search for food and water in places far from home.

DWR also said that most of the reported bear incidents across the state this year with seen between Salt Lake City and Santaquin, Grand County, and the north end of Zion National Park.

No matter where you live in Utah, DWR urges people to start planning now in order to avoid conflicts next year.

“One of the most effective ways to reduce conflicts with bears is to deny them a food source,” DeBloois said.  "Whether you are camping or whether you live in a mountain or canyon area, you should always make sure to keep your food and garbage secure to keep you and the bears safe from harm.”