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State biologists conducting annual black bear study

A team of biologists from MassWildlife, joined by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles and Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin, traveled today to a Conway black bear den to study a female bear and her two newborn cubs. The group recorded each cub’s weight and gender and examined the mother bear.

“These bears are magnificent creatures, and getting to go along with the state’s wildlife biologists to check in on the newborn cubs is one of the greatest privileges that come with my position,” Secretary Bowles said. “Research efforts like this one help us to keep track of the progress we are making, through our wildlife management and habitat conservation efforts, to ensure that black bears and a host of other species survive and thrive in Massachusetts.”

The Conway cubs, a male and a female, weighed five pounds each and are estimated to be six to eight weeks old. While at the den, DFW biologists also checked the weight and health of the four-year-old mother bear, which weighed 150 pounds.

MassWildlife began its study of black bears in 1970 in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Biologists will add the data gathered at the Conway den today to this study, which will allow them to continue tracking the bear population by monitoring reproduction, cub and adult female survival rates, and human-bear interactions.

MassWildlife officials urge people not to feed or approach bears. Other tips include always securing trash in closed containers or clapping, talking or making other loud sounds during an encounter with a bear in the wild.

Article taken in part from Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.


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