Vermont's black bear population is the highest it's been in 5 years
There are between 7,000 and 8,500 black bears living in Vermont — which is a 5-year high.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department based their estimates on data provided by hunters in 2022, and the population is now well above the department's target of 3,500 to 5,500 bears.
That's considered the ideal number of bears living and thriving in the state's habitat and alongside humans.
Wildlife biologist Jaclyn Comeau says the numbers are a huge conservation success story, especially given concerns about the animal's long-term viability back in the 1960s.
"It's really, really encouraging to see that we now have this problem of abundance and it's not really a problem and it's something that we have to address and monitor, but overall it's a good problem to have," Comeau says.
Comeau says officials expect to see a short-term decline in the next couple of years, but if not, they may have to consider management reduction strategies.
Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.