Black bears have been in the news lately as reports of sightings seem to be on the rise. But whether that means there are more bears in Alabama is a big question. Todd Steury, an Auburn professor who studies black bears, says there are likely more bears in the state. That includes a population in the Mobile area, some in northwest Alabama and an influx in the northeast. He says some of the reasons could be natural because male bears tend to wander far from home to settle.
Alabama conservation officials say black bear sightings make it clear that the bears are increasing in number and expanding their range.
Keith Gauldin of the conservation department's wildlife division says black bears have been sighted recently in Butler and Choctaw counties in south Alabama. Sightings have occurred in recent years in Jefferson, Lee, Chambers and Macon counties.