(KDKZ-TV) A Missouri Department of Conservation research project has found that the state’s black bear population is growing.
Missouri has seen high survival rates for female bears, which leads to population growth. Reported bear sightings are also increasing.
Most black bears have been spotted south of Interstate 44, though the population seems to be expanding into the Lake of the Ozarks area and some have been reported near Farmington.
The conservation department is still collecting data, but a 2012 estimation of 350 bears in the state seems consistent with the current findings.
The research project began in 2010, and should be complete within two years.