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Friday, March 18, 2011

Another Black Bear Den Visit

Bear den near road
(Dansville, NY 3/11)
What a day for a den visit! With temperatures over 60 degrees and no rain in sight, this was a fantastic day for a den visit. Today we joined the DEC south of Dansville to change the collar on an 11-year-old female bear.  First, let's talk about the den. She dug her winter home into the sandy soil on a bank literally on the edge of a road (a sleepy little country road, but a road none the less)! This first photo shows the DEC staff beginning to take the adult from the den. I only caught a tiny bit of the road in the lower left of the photo, but I can assure you that I was standing on the road when I took the photo.

Besides the female, there were three cubs in the den, all males. As I mentioned in previous posts, the cubs are weighed, given PIT tag implants and the ears and hair are measured to estimate their age. All cubs today weighed about six pounds, which is expected for cubs that are about 2 months old.

JVN and FLCC students
(Dansville, NY 3/11)
Before the cubs are returned to the den, about a million photos are taken! Here is a picture of me and the four students that attended the den with me today. I spent very little time with the cubs today as I was focused mostly on the den measurements. As you saw in the first photo, the den was on a steep slope making the data collection interesting. Tomorrow, I will post some photos of the den itself.

Two-month old black bear cub
(Dansville, NY 3/11)
 I will leave you with one final photo of one of the triplets. Check out those sharp claws. As he gets older and becomes more mobile, the claws will become worn and duller, more appropriate for climbing trees and finding grubs instead of taking a brotherly swipe at a sibling...

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