For the first time in 35 years, Maine will host the bi-annual Eastern Black Bear Workshop, which kicks off Sunday, April 28.

Lead by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife bear biologists Jennifer Vashon and Randy Cross, the workshop will run until Wednesday, May 1 and will host about 85 bear biologists from 31 states and provinces, including as far away as Alberta, Wash. and Florida.

The three-day workshop is designed to encourage these professionals to share ideas and techniques to improve bear population estimation and to better manage conflicts and harvests. Field techniques, such as capture and immobilization, are among other topics that will be discussed.

MDIFW officials said they are thrilled to have the opportunity to host the workshop.

“It’s hard to overstate the significance of this meeting, because in the bear world, this is like the Olympics or the Super Bowl,” Cross said. “It’s a great chance for Maine to put its best foot forward.”

Black bear managers and researchers from across the eastern half of the continent meet at the workshop every two years to discuss the latest developments in the world of bear research and management. These meetings are held in a different state or province each time, with the previous workshop being held in North Carolina. It was last held in Maine in 1978 for the third workshop.

Vashon and Cross are being assisted by IFW staff members Diana Harper, Jason Czapiga and Judy Camuso, as well as others to coordinate and conduct the workshop. Many IFW regional staff and game wardens are taking advantage of the workshop’s rare visit to Maine

Registration for the workshop is closed.

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