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East Texas Black Bear Task Force Meets to Implement the Texas Bear Plan
Southwest Region, December 6, 2006
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Federal, State, and Private partners assembled in East Texas for the fourth meeting of the East Texas Black Bear Task Force, which was formed to implement the July 2005 East Texas Black Bear Conservation and Management Plan 2005-2015 (Texas Bear Plan).  The Chairman of the Black Bear Conservation Committee (BBCC), Greg Brian, provided an update on recent activities of the BBCC including information on Louisiana black bear (LBB) recovery efforts, during which it was noted that he fully expects delisting of the LBB within the next 10 years.  Mr. Brian also stated that bears would most likely not be available to States like Mississippi and Texas for repatriation until the LBB was delisted. 

A representative from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reported seven credible sightings of black bears in East Texas during 2006 from five counties (Cass, Sabine, Hardin, Shelby, Red River Counties).  Three separate sightings were reported from Sabine County, including one treed bear.  This bear was reported to be wearing a radio collar, and the State is still tracking down information on this sighting.  Two additional recent sightings reported (Franklin and Trinity Counties) have not yet been verified. 

The East Texas Black Bear Task Force divided into four sub-groups ( # 1: Identify, Evaluate, Delineate, Suitable Black Bear Habitat; #2: Hunter Education; #3: Bear Necessities:, and #4 Promote Habitat) , each responsible for producing a product that implements a component of the Texas Bear Plan.  The next task force meeting will be in late March or early April 2007. 

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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