In the Field: Tagging Bear Cubs in Northern Maine
Students in Patty Jones’s BIOL 3308/ENVS3308 course, Research in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, traveled to the northern part of the state to meet with bear biologists from Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
The students and four state biologists checked in on a seventeen-year-old “soggy bottom” marsh denning bear they named Maytag and her three cubs, born in late December.
The long-term study, now in its forty-fourth year, allows researchers to better monitor and manage the bears in Maine. The bear team has three study areas, containing roughly eighty mothers with radio tags and collars. They visit these eighty dens, out of around 35,000 bears in the state, in order to research and better manage the bears in Maine.
The biologists note that this type of work helps monitor bear population numbers and regulations for hunting, to keep bears at a “socially acceptable” carrying capacity—to avoid conflict with people. They take school groups to help spread the word about the importance of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife research on bears.
Photos by Shana Stewart Deeds