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

Massachusetts Project

Modeling Black Bear Habitat Use, Movement, and Connectivity in Massachusetts

January 2015 - December 2019


Participating Agencies

  • Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
MassWildlife's Dave Fuller preparing to attach a GPS collar to a young black bear.

The black bear (Ursus americanus) population in Massachusetts has been growing in number and expanding into human dominated areas due to conservative management and increasing availability of human food resources. Quantifying seasonal black bear habitat use and movement in relation to land cover in natural and human-dominated areas is necessary for understanding black bear behavior and creating effective black bear management programs. Estimates of connectivity are also required to identify important movement corridors, direct wildlife-road mitigation efforts, and predict black bear movements into currently unoccupied areas of the state. Our analyses are based on GPS telemetry collar data from over 47 bears that has been collected since 2009 by our Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife collaborators. Other collaborators on the project include the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Results will be used to inform management of bears and bear habitat in both natural and human-dominated areas of the state.