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Study: Bear Population In Central Ga. Smaller Than Previously Estimated

Fewer than 150 black bears are thought to live in parts of central Georgia.
Fewer than 150 black bears are thought to live in parts of central Georgia.
Credit Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press
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A three-year study has concluded the black bear population in part of central Georgia is less than half as big as previously thought.

The Telegraph in Macon reports that the study done by the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources estimates the population at 140. It was previously estimated at about 300.

The study includes an area south of Interstate 16 and down Georgia 96, then south to the Ocmulgee and Oaky Woods wildlife management areas.

The state began allowing an annual one-day bear hunt in 2011. A total of 54 bears have been killed by hunters since then, while 21 were killed by vehicle accidents during the study period, said Michael Chamberlain, a lead researcher. Chamberlain said the previous estimate was also too high.