When it comes to studying formidable predators like bears, there are at least two good reasons to use remote cameras. One: you can discover where the animals travel, how they live, what they eat? And two: you avoid finding yourself on the menu. National Geographic’s critter cam has revealed extraordinary behaviors of the brown bear – the grizzlies – close kin of the Alaskan Panhandle. The video provides researchers with some of the most animate pictures ever captured of bear life in the depths of the forest. A rare look into the private life of a brown bear. Things might no remain quite so cosey for the brown bear for long. Humans are encroaching on their territory, hunters come to Alaska to bag brown bears for trophies. Whole loggers are cutting down their habitat.
The number of grizzly bears in the western united states has plummeted from more than a hundred thousand to only one thousand today. No one wants to see a repeat of that scenario with brown bears in Alaska. So reseachers here trying to discover more about the bears movements. They wanna know how their range is being affected by clear cut forest and new roads. For that they rely on gps. These devices make use of dozens of orbiting satellites to calculate the precise location of a tagged animal. Sometimes they are only off by a few feet. But just as with critter cam. First we have to get a collar on a bear in order to track it. That’s where expert tracker Lavern Buyer and biologist Jack Whitman come in.
We are trespassing in a pretty major way in places where brown bears live, where most people shouldn’t go. It would be foolish because how one feels about bears not to carry a weapon.
As they enter the bear’s rain forest habitat they stay downwind and silent as possible.
They pick up motion, so you move slow and deliberate and preferably move when they are not looking at you. Trying to determine whether the bear knows if we are here or not. But the wind, the wind kinda going right towards it.
Lavern and Jack can hear noises indicating that a bear is caught at one of their snares. But its not clear how firmly the trap has grabbed the animals foot.
At this point its kind of how is all this gonna play out. You know we are, there are other things. That are gonna happen here to determine whether it’s a good capture, a bad capture, an ugly capture. As the bear shifts its position the trackers can see the situation is dangerous. A second jerk and this angry bear could be on them in the blink of an eye. Fortunately the tranquilizer is already taking effect. If not, the bear might easily pull free. Minutes later, she is down. The researchers waste no time. First a blood sample, then its time to fit the collar. Now this bear like others can provide a stream of important information as to its movements. Researchers are particularly concerned about the situation on Alaska’s Chichagof Island where many brown bears converge during the summer.
These are life sustaining quarters where bears have traditionally roamed. But over the last twenty years, roads have cut deep into this once virgin wilderness. And timber clear cutting has turned some of the bear’s summer stopping grounds into stump fields. As development extends further and further into the brown bears ancient domain, humans and bears are increasingly coming face to face. And that’s potential disaster. So researchers need to know how much the can the bear’s land shrink before it will no longer be able to sustain them. Through technologies like critter cam and Gps tracking they will be keeping a close eye on the bear’s movements. From land and from space. These massive bears are on conservationist radar. They want to make sure this awesome species doesn’t bear the brunt man’s excursions into their land.
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