Black bear population rebounds in Massachusetts

Black bears were nearly wiped out after Europeans colonized Massachusetts, but the population has rebounded dramatically since the 1970s, rising from as few as 100 bears across the state to as many as 4,500 today. The graphic below accompanied a story about the resurgence of black bears in Eastern Massachusetts.

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Male and female cubs live with their mothers for about 16 months after being born. Females then travel in a range that overlaps a portion of their mother’s territory. Breeding female bears have thus far moved as far east as Interstate 190. Males have traveled farther east because they usually disperse greater distances after leaving the den – often 60 to 100 miles away – searching for a less densely populated area.

The map below shows the movements of a single female black bear that was fitted by researchers at UMass Amherst with a location tracker. The map was created with Carto, using the Torque feature to show movement over time.