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Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Black Bear Recolonization

Keeping Texas Wild

TPWF partners with the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University to study the return of black bears in far West Texas.

About the Project

Black bears once ranged across the Trans-Pecos, but by the 1950s they had mostly disappeared from Texas. More recently, they’ve begun to repopulate into Texas from Mexico. The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI), in partnership with TPWF, is committed to tracking and researching the black bear to understand more about its population growth and habitat needs, and how its presence affects the human population of the area.

Though completely gone from West Texas by the 1950s, black bears began to be sighted in Big Bend in the 1990s. In the years since, black bears have been spotted further from the park and from the Mexico border. BRI is studying the bears to see where they are coming from, how they are moving across Texas, and how they are interacting with humans. This research is vital to creating science-based management strategies as the black bear population grows.

The researchers at BRI, with the help of private landowners, have begun to fit the bears with tracking collars. These collars help the researchers gather data on the bears’ movement and behavior. The collars also mean researchers can track interactions with humans. As more and more bears move into Texas, understanding how humans and the bears will coexist is an important part of the project. BRI’s research will facilitate science-based management of the bears’ expansion.

TPWF works in partnership to raise private funds to enable BRI’s important work researching what we can do to ensure wild things endure in the wild places of Texas.

At a Glance

150+ Sites Visited

to further black bear research

100,000+ Acres

Surveyed for black bear activity

4,000+ Square Miles

range of data collection


Help Us Keep Texas Wild

Help ensure that every Texan, now and in the future, can enjoy, explore, and be inspired by the wild things and wild places in Texas.

Thanks Team!