Meet Bear # 532
It is the season for bear issues. The berries are ripe and their is a lot of food up top. The mama bears have kicked their cubs to the curb and the little ones are trying to make it on their own. They just have to learn that there is a big park out there and they can not stay at LeConte. We have had a few bear sightings over the past week. The park biologists hiked up to find these bears and let them know they need to move on. As soon as Rick Varner, park biologist, got to the top, the bear came walking thru camp. It did not take long for Rick to dart the little guy and start his work up on him.
After the biologists are done working him over, they wake the bear up. They then to proceed to yell at the bear and scare it out of camp. Rick says the experience is like a bad night on the town. The bear will wake up with a bad hang over, a tattoo, a pulled tooth, an earring, and some crazy memories of those two legged creatures. Hopefully, this will be enough to make him scared of people and buildings and stay away. We want him to stay a wild bear, which in return will save his life.
8/10/2010 01:19:25 am
Your accounting of how the bear was darted, tagged, and tattooed was interesting. I shared it with some boy scouts I volunteer with and they were glad to learn more about bears. In my duties as an engineer I'm out in the field two or three times a week and in the Big Black Mountain area of S.E. KY and have encountered four bears already this year. They seem to be more reclusive than in other areas and I only get brief glimpses of them. Black bears have made a huge comeback in the area. Thanks for your story.
8/10/2010 06:02:39 am
Thank you for the story of Bear#532. What an amazing experience for the lodge guests who were there.
8/10/2010 07:31:59 am
Why was the tooth pulled? Is it another form of identification or did he have a bad tooth?
8/10/2010 07:42:36 am
i love this blog, just found it today via the GSMNP facebook page!
8/10/2010 07:44:11 am
If interested in black bears, check out the North American Bear Center (www.bear.org) - scientists there working with/studying wild black bears without tranquilizers, etc. - really fascinating! Also look at "Lily the Black Bear" on Facebook.
8/10/2010 10:01:55 am
There was nothing wrong with the tooth. The tooth is pulled to create a bad experience for the bear, to leave him with the impression that he wandered into the wrong neighborhood.
8/10/2010 10:39:13 am
I am not so sure that pulling a tooth was necessary. This site needs to check out the Lily the Bear site, the Bears in Min. They wear collars, but none of them have been darted or tranquilized to put the collars on.
High On LeConte
8/10/2010 10:52:08 am
Actually, thru research, they determined that the tooth the biologists pull is not a necessary tooth. The bear does not use it. They pulled the tooth to send off and determine the bears actual age. They can split the tooth and the rings will tell the bears age. Just like a tree.
8/10/2010 11:28:15 am
Actually, the tooth is pulled to determine the age of the bear. The tooth is cut in half, and just a like a tree, there is a ring for every year the bear has been alive.
8/10/2010 11:50:24 am
Thank you for sharing this story of bear #532. I love the black bear in the smoky mountains. We try and go there at least once a year and camp at cades cove. Just love it.
8/10/2010 12:12:41 pm
8/10/2010 12:33:28 pm
Second that, Tony. That's got to be a feat. I've had to put "Elizabethan collars" on cats to protect wounds. Hard to imagine getting a gear to lie still...
8/10/2010 12:36:36 pm
8/10/2010 01:20:30 pm
8/10/2010 01:24:48 pm
As mentioned above, please visit Bear.org and you will learn more about the black bear. You will be amazed at how Dr.Lynn Rogers has observed these bears and walked with them in the woods. They gain his trust, and he places a radio collar on the bear while feeding them nuts or berries.
8/10/2010 01:35:22 pm
Yes, please do check out www.bear.org
8/10/2010 01:37:23 pm
Some people seem to not understand that the Lodge and the NPS do not want bears hanging around where people and food are located. They do not want the bears to trust them. They want the bears to have a bad experience around humans for both the human and bear sakes. It's not supposed to be a warm and fuzzy experience for the bears.
8/10/2010 01:40:02 pm
We met Rick Varner when we were on LeConte in the beginning of June. He was called up the mtn to seek out a nuisance bear over at the LeConte shelter. Rick is extremely knowledgeable and shared a lot of information about the issues facing the current bear population in the Smokies. Thanks for posting this story!
8/10/2010 01:52:23 pm
An experienced bear biologist would have been able to tell the bears age without having to pull a tooth. Anyone can see that it is a yearling. You don't want the bears around people, why don't you try moving the Lodge out of the bears territory, they were there first. We humans keep moving further into the wild, the animals have no where to go.
8/10/2010 01:53:45 pm
This is NOT even close to resembling education regarding bears. It's all statistical data...useful in it's own way, but not useful in understanding bears and their behaviors. For a wealth of information, check out bear.org and bearstudy.org, where researchers have humanely researched bears and their behaviors. Did you know that hibernating mother bears who have cubs in the dead of winter are really awake much of the time tending to their cubs? And that their favorite food is NOT bacon? And that they love to play? Also check out on Facebook 'Lily the Black Bear' and you'll find a lot of wonderful people! You might even like it!
8/10/2010 02:08:41 pm
Just discovered this blog via Facebook, and am very pleased! Enjoyed the winter blog from LeConte and am happy there is a summer one as well.
8/11/2010 01:45:38 am
Wow, sounds like those folks up in MN really have these bears figured out. Great data on "wild" bears that have been raised in captivity their entire lives. Wonder if they drink scotch and play poker with the owners as well.
8/11/2010 02:49:06 am
Everyone knows that getting bears to drink scotch and play poker is like pulling teeth. Hmmm. Don't play poker with a bear as you never really know what they are going to do. Black Bears are known for their bluff charges. The scotch thing is way out of bounds, however, as bears are into berries. Muscadine wine will take a scotch any day. :)
8/11/2010 02:09:48 pm
Patrick - the research bears are collared (neither non tranquilized nor scotch'd) indeed wild. The one that will play a mean hand of poker and drink scotch w/you is Ted, one of the resident bears at the North American Bear Center (NABC) at www.bear.org. You can watch Ted, Lucky and Honey on the live web cam. What you don't know about bears won't hurt you, but what you do learn about bears will totally blow your mind! P.S. TRY to gain a bear's trust...you'll never get near enough to one!
8/12/2010 01:16:39 am
8/12/2010 05:01:21 am
Yesterday,my four children and I hiked to Ramsey's Cascades in GSMNP. We encountered a bear crossing the river about six yards from us. He caught us by surprise but we gave him his space and just watched as he passed by. I felt like we were intruding on his territory and he graciously let us. He was beautiful. It was an experience my children will not soon forget!
8/12/2010 12:44:19 pm
I have enjoyed watching Lily during the whole period she was being born, as I am sure thousands have. While our mountains and MN both have bears, what MN does not have are thousands of tourists a year that have no clue as to proper procedure when encountering one, which makes for a dangerous situation. Not only for the humans but for the bears. To hear of a bear having to be put down because humans are feeding them which caused them to become more aggressive towards humans has been heart breaking. Thanks Allison for posting this, wish I would have been there!
8/14/2010 09:03:55 am
While I applaud the efforts of NABC and its supporters, it seems that there may be a more appropriate place to voice your frustrations than on this blog. Two of the missions of the NABC is to advance the survival of these wonderful animals and to reduce conflict between bears and humans--which is exactly what these bear biologists at GSMNP seem to be doing. Thanks for what you do, but you are preaching to the choir here where I feel that most, if not all of us, want to protect these beautiful bears and keep them safe as well. Nothing about this blog post was inhumane or worthy of a flood posts about your own organization's website!
8/16/2010 02:24:34 am
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