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


Ecology of American black bear on the Navajo Nation

August 2022 - May 2026


Participating Agencies

Little is known about the ecology of American black bear (Ursus americanus) on the Navajo Nation in northeast Arizona or about the nature of human-bear interactions in this region. Black bear have a semi-deity status in the Dine culture which makes it very important to understand current societal and cultural views on black bear on the Navajo Nation, particularly given the potential for human-bear conflict. This project is being led by Deandra Jones, a PhD student at the University of Arizona, in collaboration with co-advisors Drs. Michael Bogan and Javan Bauder and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife. This study will use non-invasive genetic sampling to estimate black bear population size across the Chuska Mountains and will use social surveys and traditional ecological knowledge to understand current views of black bear on the Navajo Nation and the nature and extent of human-bear conflict. This study will provide important information to manage black bear populations on the Navajo Nation and develop guidelines to manage human-bear conflict.