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Maine Researchers Find Bear Den 15 Feet Above Ground

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This is a file photo of a black bear. (File photo credit MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

This is a file photo of a black bear. (File photo credit MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITY, Maine (CBS/AP) — Most bears tend to hibernate in hollow logs, underground dens or even tree stumps. But Unity College researchers have found a high-flying bear.

A Unity alumnus who’s participating in a bear study in central Maine used a radio tracking collar to find a bear in a den 15 feet off up in a hollowed-out tree.

College spokesman Mark Tardif says it’s the same bear that was being tracked by a helicopter when it crashed last summer, injuring the pilot and a student. The bear was recently found up in the tree, this time without any drama.

“Lisa found the bear’s den approximately fifteen feet off the ground in a hollowed out tree,” Associate Professor George Matula explained. He says that it was important to locate the den in case the collar quit functioning before biologists could replace it.

Lisa Bates ’08, is a Unity College alumna and a Wildlife Biologist helping to coordinate the study.

In May, study members will return to the field to trap bears and gather biological data. Several bears will be fitted with radio collars, at least one with a video collar.

The study, now in its second year, features analyses of blood and DNA, along with tracking of black bears. Unity College is providing data to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The general public is encouraged to call any bear sightings in to the Unity College Bear Study at (207) 509-7269, or e-mail jwhelan@unity.edu.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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