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The Exchange

An Update on N.H.'s Bear Population

After several years of abundant natural foods, such as acorns, berries or apples, bears in New Hampshire are emerging  from dens this spring skinny, hungry, and forced to forage farther afield for food. We look at the impact of the recent scarcity of food, and the likelihood that it might increase human-bear interactions. Bear rehabilitator Ben Kilham of the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, N.H., says he has taken in over 70 orphaned cubs, an unprecedented number. And we discuss the incredible journey of Mink, the troublesome "Hanover Bear" who was relocated to the North Country, but has been tracked travelling south.


  • Glenn Normandeau - Executive Director of N.H. Fish & Game Department.
  • Kristine Rines - Wildlife Biologist, Moose Project Leader, N.H. Fish & Game Department.
  • Andrew Timmins - Wildlife Biologist, Bear Project Leader, N.H. Fish & Game Department.

We also hear from Ben Kilham, licensed bear rehabilitator for N.H. Fish & Game, and founder of the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, N.H. 

Credit Dave Anderson, SPNHF
Bears at the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, N.H.

N.H. Fish & Game has a F.A.Q. about bears with basic information.

The vast majority of calls the Fish and Game Department receives about bears in New Hampshire are triggered by three key issues: garbage, bird feeders, and chickens.  This link provides you with a map created by NHPR to see where these incidents are happening, as well as other things that have attracted bears in recent years, prompting complaints to the department. 

The map below shows 2018 incidents of nuisance and orphaned bears in New Hampshire. The green markers are rescued orphaned bear cubs, dark red are bears killed by Fish and Game, magenta markers are bears killed by other government agencies, light red are bears killed by the public. Yellow markers are bears that were captured and relocated. Click on any flag for additional information on each incident. The icon at the top left of the map opens controls that allow selection of particular sets. This map was published in the Union Leader in a December 2018 article on Bears In NH Are On The Move And Under The Gun.

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