Black bear populations are expanding throughout western New York. This expansion has led to more interaction between humans and bears. In an effort to learn as much as possible about western New York's expanding black bear population, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
began tracking bear movements through the use of standard radio-telemetry collars. Collaring female bears (sows) allows DEC officials to locate winter dens and obtain information on the adults and newborn cubs.
The number of cubs per sow, sexes, weights and body measurements all help in determining reproductive potential of the black bear population. This information is used to choose the best management strategy for black bears. In March 2010, Zoo staff accompanied the DEC on several Southern Tier den visits, both to lend expertise on the care of immobilized animals and to train DEC staff in the proper technique of ID chip implantation. ID chips are being used as a method of marking cubs too small for conventional radio collars or ear tags.
The Zoo is proud to donate the ID chip equipment and is excited to partner with the DEC on this worthwhile conservation effort. For more information about New York's black bear program, click here.
Left: Dr. Jeff Wyatt, Director of Animal Health & Conservation and DEC biologists examine an anesthetized two-year-old mother bear.
Right: Zoo Keeper Robin English with a 60-day-old cub.