Black Bear Research

NDOW is dedicated to making science-based decisions in our management of bears.  The only way to effectively do this is to conduct ongoing research into Nevada’s bear population.   This research benefits not only Nevada’s bears and residents but also assists states across the nation by providing the best available science. NDOW uses the mark-recapture method with bears for population monitoring and demographics.

Nevada’s bear management and conservation, has benefitted immensely by its relationship with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Working together since 1999 the NDOW/WCS/UNR team led the way in urban bear research.  This research represents one, if not the longest-running and earliest comparative studies of a black bear population at the wildlife-urban interface in North America.  This collaborative approach has allowed a better understanding of the ecological, demographic and behavioral changes in a large, recolonizing carnivore, and to use the data to impact conservation and management.  The collaboration has produced several peer-reviewed publications in professional journals (see below).

NDOW provides biological samples from bears we have handled to assist with other studies inside and outside of the state.  For instance, hair and blood samples were provided to the University of Nevada, Reno for DNA analysis (Malaney et al. 2017);  the University of Memphis was provided with tissue samples for an ongoing study on color patterns in black bears; the University of Tennessee used Nevada bear hair samples for an isotope analysis of bear hair (expected publishing date of Summer 2019); Columbia University in New York analyzed GPS data from Nevada bears  to learn about the mortality risks facing bears in urban landscapes (Wynn-Grant et al. 2018); and currently NDOW is partnered with Michigan State University on a non-invasive DNA sampling project in wildland areas.  In addition to these projects, NDOW’s wildlife health lab is collaborating with Oregon State University and UC Davis looking into disease and virology of black bears.

Resultant publications can be found here:

Other Research


Other Publications