Black bear populations have been increasing in New York State since the early 1900s. Bears are a magnificent part of the natural world, and populations of healthy bears are indicative of a healthy forest ecosystem. But with more bears come more opportunities for bear-human conflicts, which peak in the Catskills each year in June. Join NYSDEC Senior Wildlife Biologist Matt Merchant for a fascinating talk on black bear biology and behavior, and learn how to best prevent conflicts with bears on the hiking trail and in your own backyard.
Matt has an A.A.S. degree in Fish and Wildlife Technology, SUNY Cobleskill, 1986, and a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management, UMaine, Orono, 1991. As a student Matt worked for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, including a summer spent live-trapping bears in northern Maine. Matt later worked as a Fish and Wildlife Technician for NYSDEC at the Region 4 sub-office in Stamford, NY. Now as Senior Wildlife Biologist for the NYSDEC in the Region 3 Bureau of Wildlife, Matt has been working with the bear program for 15 years, handling nuisance bears and educating the public about black bear conflicts.