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NEWS RELEASE #05-116 June 20, 2005 DNR News (803) 734-3950

LAW MAKES IT ILLEGAL TO HAVE BEAR IN CAPTIVITY IN S.C. WITHOUT A PERMIT

A state law makes it illegal to have a bear in captivity without a permit, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and agency leaders say they plan to enforce the law more rigorously.

Applications for permits to possess bears must be received in the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Clemson office by Friday, July 15. Permits for captive bears will be issued by DNR by Thursday, Aug. 15. Any un-permitted bear in captivity after Aug. 15, 2005, will be illegal and subject to confiscation with other legal action possible. Anyone possessing a black bear in captivity is asked to contact their local DNR law enforcement officer, or call the Clemson DNR office at (864) 654-1671, extension 19. Permits will also be required for black bear temporarily exhibited in South Carolina.

No further reproduction of these captive black bear will be allowed. "Periodic inspections will be conducted," said Skip Still, DNR wildlife biologist and black bear specialist based at the Clemson DNR office. "This will also allow us to get a handle on how many bear are in captivity.

"There are two wild populations of bear in South Carolina-one located in the mountainous region along the South Carolina/North Carolina line, and the other in the upper coastal plain," Still said. "Black bear in the mountains of South Carolina seem to be expanding their range southward, and their population is increasing. The upper coastal plain population is presently stable. The primary threat to the state's bear population appears to be residential and commercial developments."
 
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