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Bears might soon raise families in Atlanta suburbs | Urban Wildlife

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Bears might soon raise families in Atlanta suburbs
Urban Wildlife
Bears might soon raise families in Atlanta suburbs

ATLANTA -- Wildlife biologists say black bears like the one that rambled through backyards in Atlanta's northern suburbs in August could soon be permanent residents in north Fulton, Gwinnett and Cherokee counties, having cubs and raising families.

State officials say bears could be reproducing well inside the Atlanta metro area within the next decade, which would mean a new way of life for suburban residents not accustomed to living in bear country.

Wildlife biologist Don McGowan of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, says trends suggest that bears will move well into metro Atlanta "and we may be seeing that already."

Researchers say bears are expanding nationwide, and are being seen in metro areas such as Birmingham, Ala., and Tulsa, Okla.

They say the U.S. bear population has boomed as hunting declined.

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