July 31, 2008
Illegal to keep a bear in captivity in South Carolina without a permit
State wildlife officials are issuing a reminder that it is illegal to have a black bear in captivity in South Carolina without a permit, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
Even captive bears coming to South Carolina temporarily need to be permitted.
Any un-permitted bear in captivity in South Carolina is illegal and subject to confiscation, with other legal action possible, according to Skip Still, S.C Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife biologist and head of the DNR's Black Bear Project based at the Clemson DNR office. The only captive bears that DNR has permitted are those that were in captivity before Jan.1, 2006, and for which owners provided proof of possession prior to that date. No additional permits will be issued for the captive possession of black bears in South Carolina, other than those legally possessed in another state and brought into South Carolina for temporary exhibition. The possession of black bears by individuals is not considered biologically sound, safe for the local community, or in the best long-term interest of the wild black bear resource.
No further reproduction of captive black bear is allowed in South Carolina. "Periodic inspections will be conducted," Still said.
Two wild populations of black bear exist in South Carolina—one located in the mountains and piedmont, and the other in the northern coastal counties (primarily Horry and Georgetown counties), according to Still. Both populations are expanding geographically. The primary threat to the state's bear population appears to be residential and commercial developments.
DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.