The news is getting better for Louisiana black bears.  New statistics show that the population of the bears is growing.

New figures show that Louisiana's three main populations have grown to about 500.

The two new studies show that the population of black bears are growing, but a third study, whether they can survive without federal protection, is still not complete.

The studies will be presented at a public meeting today in Morgan City.

University of Tennessee graduate students were able to estimate the number of bears in two parts of the Atchafalaya Basin by getting samples of hair snagged in barbed wire and using their DNA.

The student's adviser Joe Clark says their estimates show about 130 black bears in the coastal area and between 60 and 70 in the upper Atchafalaya.

Harold Schoeffler filed the lawsuit that got the bears listed as threatened.

He says they're on the way to recovery but probably still have a long way to go.

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