Mange a concern in region's bear population

LAWRENCE TWP. – With this year's statewide bear season under way, Pennsylvania Game Commission employees at area bear check stations are examining harvested bears for signs of mange, a skin disease caused by mites. "Mange is the disease of greatest concern right now," said Matt Lovallo, Pennsylvania Game Commission Game Mammal Section supervisor, on Saturday afternoon at the check station in Lawrence Township, Clearfield County. Lovallo noted that mange is not typically seen statewide, and instead is primarily affecting bears in the Northcentral and Southwest regions. "It's localized. We did a study in the late 1990s where we saw a prevalence of about four percent. The latest study used a different technique, but we saw a higher prevalence closer to eight or nine percent," Lovallo said.Signs of the disease were apparent on bears brought to both the Lawrence Township check station and the Mt. Jewett check station in McKean County. At least one hunter at each location chose to turn their bear over to the Game Commission for a new tag.Pick up a copy of the Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.