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Vermont's black bear population is the highest it's been in 5 years

A black bear clings to a tree.
Tom Rogers
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department say the state's black bear population is above their target of 3,500 to 5,500 this year.

There are between 7,000 and 8,500 black bears living in Vermont — which is a 5-year high.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department based their estimates on data provided by hunters in 2022, and the population is now well above the department's target of 3,500 to 5,500 bears.

That's considered the ideal number of bears living and thriving in the state's habitat and alongside humans.

Wildlife biologist Jaclyn Comeau says the numbers are a huge conservation success story, especially given concerns about the animal's long-term viability back in the 1960s.

"It's really, really encouraging to see that we now have this problem of abundance and it's not really a problem and it's something that we have to address and monitor, but overall it's a good problem to have," Comeau says.

Comeau says officials expect to see a short-term decline in the next couple of years, but if not, they may have to consider management reduction strategies.

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A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.

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