Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

Genetics Sampling Method to Estimate Black Bears Population Size in Arizona

December 2011 - December 2016


Participating Agencies

  • Arizona Game & Fish Dept.

Goal: Use data from hair snags in a 4-km grid system to estimate black bear population size in select mountain ranges. Two mountain ranges have been sampled, one in the sky island region of Arizona, and one in the White Mountains, which are both isolated and relatively small. The White Mountains study area, falls within the largest block of black bear habitat in the state, and hair snags were placed at sites easily accessible and likely to have black bear activity. Our objective is to develop a method for using data from hair snags, combined with harvest records of an area, to generate mark-recapture estimates of abundance of black bears in Arizona. We will use data from the 2 study areas mentioned in Arizona, along with harvest data, to develop a cost-effective method to sample all black bears in Arizona, and develop a strategy that is feasible to implement annually to provide accurate abundance estimates on which to base black bear harvest levels.