Eric Richmond, a biologist with The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, knows this bear well. "We captured this bear in August of 2007, she was 18 months old and weighed 74 pounds, she was about a mile to our west.
In March of 2008, we found her as a two year old denned in a chestnut tree."
We've seen her grow from a first time mom to an adult sow who's already produced six healthy bears.
We never have to go very far to find this bear her dens are always right in this same general area.
"We know she pretty much stays right where we're at. We've been able to find her over the last four years within less than a mile from where we are now. When she was a two and a four year old, she's in a tree, in the years that she produces cubs, she dens in the ground." says Richmond.
She has cubs this year, and they're healthy and snug inside this den, which is nothing more than a dugout hole on the side of a mountain. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources bear study is over now, and this is the last time we'll be checking this bear out, making sure she's healthy and producing cubs.
"It's bitter sweet because you monitor her habits for four years and others we've tracked for eight and nine years, some of them we've monitored for the entire duration of the study, you become familiar with her, her habits and you look forward each winter to saying hello to her again." says Richmond.
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