► What's NYeBear? How do I join?
► What kind of information does NYeBear collect?
► I'm not sure what I saw was bear or bear sign. What do I do?
► How long does NYeBear run?

Bears in New York
► So how many bears are in NY?
► I've heard there are more bears now. Is that true? Why?
► What is citizen science? Why use it to study black bears?
► Where can I learn more about black bears?


NYeBear is a citizen science project that collects information to study the black bear population in New York.

Join NYeBear today, it's easy! You'll be on your way to being a part of wildlife research when you spend time outdoors! NYeBear is accessible by internet, smartphone app, and post mail.

  1. Download the NYeBear app onto your mobile device.

  2. You can

  3. Go hiking
  4. Or set up a trail camera on your property

  5. Then,

  6. Use NYeBear to report whether or not you saw bears or bear tracks, scat, or hair.
NYeBear needs 2 kinds of data about bears and bear signs:

  • A detection is when you see bears or bear signs.
  • A non-detection is when you do not see bear or bears signs.
NYeBear needs both.

Always log your hikes with NYeBear and don't forget to submit trail camera data even when you dont see bears!

This is important for knowing how common bears are. For example, seeing one bear in the past week is different from seeing one bear over the course of a year. If you dont report it, NYeBear can't tell the difference.

Your privacy is important to us. We will not share your email, location, or other personal information.
Sometimes bear sign can look it's from deer, dog, or other large mammals.

There are several things you can do:
  1. Check out our Recognizing Bear Sign page. There are also links to other resources.
  2. Rate your confidence when you submit data.
  3. Submit a picture with something like your hand or a coin for scale.
  4. You can always contact the researchers with a description and photos.
If we have questions about the data, we'll email you!
NYeBear is a year-round project (but bears den in the winter).

Citizen scientists can submit data in the spring, summer, fall, and even winter. We encourage participates to submit data throughout the year and over multiple years. This provides long-term data.

2015 is the first year of the project. It is a pilot year and if you have comments or suggestions, send them our way (contact us)!
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) estimates about 6,000-8,000 bears in New York. There are approximately:
  • 3,200 in the Adirondacks
  • 1,800 in the Catskill region
  • 1,000 in central-western NY
However, we don't know exactly how many bears there are, or where they are.

An objective of NYeBear is to refine these estimates of population size and distribution of bears in the state. These results will also help researchers understand why and how the population is expanding. Ultimately, this will ensure that people and bears continue to co-exist in New York.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that the bear population in NY is growing. This is primarily due to successful black bear management and the reversion of farmlands back to forest.

In the 1800s, bears in NY were hunted heavily and many forests turned into farmland. In 1903, NY started protecting bears and regulating hunting. Now, bears are back! As the population continues to grow, the ranges have been expanding, especially into central NY. NYeBear will help confirm and refine the range description of bears in the state.

This map shows the 3 historical ranges (Adirondacks, Catskill, and Allegany) that have now grown and expanded. The Adirondack Range is now called the Northern Black Bear Range, and the Catskill and Allegany Ranges have merged into the Southern Black Bear Range. Most of the estimated population growth and range expansion has been in the southern part of the state.
Citizen science is a way to conduct research that involves citizens and volunteers. Citizens can participate in any step of the scientific process, from deveoping research questions and hypotheses, to collecting and analyzing data, and even sharing the results. It is a great way to 1) involve different groups of people, 2) ask large-scale questions, and 3) help ensure that research remains relevant to the people that it affects.

NYeBear depends on citizens to help collect data about bears because ~89% of land in NY is private - land that researchers can't easily access or study.

There are many successful citizen science projects around the globe. One of the earliest citizen science projects dates back to the 18th century in Finland, when the public documented the timing of bird migration. More recently, two examples of very successful ecological citizen science efforts include the Breeding Bird Survey ,and eBird. You can find and learn more about citizen science projects at citsci.org and zooniverse.org.
There are many resources black bears. Visit your local library, or search the internet!

For information specific to New York, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's website about black bears.

To learn more about NYeBear and related research, Cat Sun's website , the graduate student conducting this research.