The Central Georgia Population (CGP) is the least abundant and most geographically isolated American black bear (Ursus americanus) population in Georgia, USA. We used DNA-based spatially explicit capture–recapture techniques to estimate density and abundance of bears in the CGP. We sampled bear hair over 2 8-week periods during the summers of 2012 and 2013 and recorded capture histories of individual bears identified via microsatellite genotyping. Population density for females was 0.123 bears/km2 (SE = 0.018) and 0.152 bears/km2 (SE = 0.024) in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Male bear density was 0.109 bears/km2 (SE = 0.015) to 0.088 bears/km2 (SE = 0.013) during the same years. Derived estimates of abundance of female bears was 125.4 (SE = 18.3) in 2012 and 154.9 (SE = 24.3) in 2013. Male bear abundance was 111.3 (SE = 15.2) and 89.8 (SE = 12.9) for 2012 and 2013, respectively. Based on these estimates and the isolated nature of the CGP, we recommend continued monitoring of demographic parameters and a conservative approach to determining annual harvest rates.
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Vol. 26 • No. 2