There are two subspecies of black bears found in Mississippi. The American black bear is found in the northernmost counties of the state and is listed as state endangered, and the Louisiana black is found in the southern two-thirds of the state and is listed as federally threatened.
Black bears are found in three major areas in the state: the Gulf Coast, the Loess Bluffs and the Delta. Currently, there are about 80-100 black bears in the state. Land clearing for agriculture and overhunting are the main reasons for the animals’ decline. Females breed for the first time at three years of age and give birth about every other year. Litter sizes range from one to five.
Black bears live in areas with plenty of cover, den sites and food sources. Black bears’ habitat usually includes linear areas that connect larger open spaces, often referred to as dispersal corridors. Although they are known as carnivores, almost 90 percent of the black bear’s diet consists of plant materials such as acorns, berries, grasses and crops. They also consume insects and carcasses in their habitat.
Conservation Connection (PDF)
Mississippi State University, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Louisiana Black Bear (PDF)
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Black Bear Conservation Committee
In addition to providing a description of the Louisiana black bear, this publication describes its distribution and habitat, life history, threats to the black bear and the reason for its decline, as well as the recovery efforts.
Living With Mississippi Black Bears (PDF)
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
This publication gives readers ideas on how to handle black bear encounters in the wild and urban settings, what to do to keep bears out of problem areas, and who to contact about issues with bears. Also provided is a description of black bears, their history and distribution throughout Mississippi.