Black bears thriving in Big South Fork

ONEIDA, Tenn. (AP) -- New population estimates of black bears in and around the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area show the population is thriving.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the bears were reintroduced to the area almost 20 years ago after they had been nearly wiped out by habitat destruction and unregulated hunting.

New DNA information collected by biologist shows the bears population has grown dramatically from the 14 females and 16 cubs brought from the Smokies in the 1990s. Today there are about 284 animals in the park area in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The population studies show the bears have found the habitat to their liking. Biologists say the Big South Fork population could become ground zero for the natural dispersal of bears across the northern Cumberland Plateau.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 206250431 -
Gray Television, Inc.