NEW: Gov. Patrick Joins Officials on Black Bear Survey
Monday, March 04, 2013
On their trek, Patrick and company found two bear cubs, roughly four to six weeks old. Although the two male cubs are too small to tag or collar at this point, weighing just six pounds, MassWildlife still records their condition, weight and gender.
Information gathered at the den in Conway today adds to that compiled through one of longest, continuous studies of black bears in the United States. MassWildlife began the study with the Massachusetts Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst in 1970.
MassWildlife has been solely responsible for the project since 1999 and is currently examining reproductive success, cub survival, adult female survival and human-bear interactions. Numbering only about 100 bears when the study began, the Massachusetts black bear population has grown to approximately 3,000 today.
Although black bears are becoming more common in Central Mass and are occasionally sighted in eastern communities, most of MassWildlife’s bear research takes place west of the Connecticut River. MassWildlife is currently tracking 16 female bears to determine adult female survival and cub production and survival – key components of the Division’s black bear population model. MassWildlife does not collar male bears, but ear-tags them to provide future knowledge about survival and movement.
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