University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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Unit's name.

Black Bear Research in the Field

  • Dr. Paul Iaizzo (center) and Dr. Tim Laske (left) are preparing to perform a 12-lead EKG and echocardiogram on this black bear at its den site.
  • Dr. Paul Iaizzo retrieves data from a loop recorder previously implanted in this anesthetized black bear while graduate student Mark Ditmer makes adjustments to the radio collar. Dr. Paul Iaizzo retrieves data from a loop recorder that had previously been implanted in this anesthetized bear. Graduate student Mark Ditmer adjusts the bear's collar.
  • The noninvasive telemetry head retrieves data. The data collected from this device will allow researchers to gain a better understanding of cardiac trends including activity and heart rate variability. The loop recorder can also be programmed to track atypical cardiac events such as arrythmias. The recorder is interrogated using a non-invasive telemetry head. The data gathered from this device keeps track of cardiac trends such as activity and heart rate variability. This device can also be programmed to track atypical cardiac events.
  • The research crew obtains the snout-tail resistance for this 515 lb bear. An electrical current is pulsed from the snout to vent and the resistance of the current is obtained in ohms. Using the weight of the animal, snout-tail resistance and total body water can be calculated. From this calculation, the body water percent and body fat percent are obtained. This information is useful in monitoring water and fat loss during hibernation. The field crew obtains the snout-tail resistance for this 515 lb. bear. An electrical current is pulsed from the snout to vent and the resistance of the current is obtained in ohms. Using the weight of the animal, snout-tail resistance the total body water can be calculated. From this calculation, the body water percent and body fat percent. This information is useful in monitoring water and fat loss during hibernation.
  • World renowned bear expert Dr. Dave Garshelis takes blood for numerous ongoing laboratory investigations. For example, Tinen Iles, a graduate student and scientist at the University is studying clotting properties relative to hibernation.
  • Dr. Dave Garshelis, from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, measures the relative dimensions of a hibernating black bear: head, neck, thorax girths and lengths.
  • Wildlife research biologist Karen Noyce sizes the radio collar on this black bear. Such devices are used to track these animals throughout northern Minnesota and is required to determine their relative denning location.
  • The canines of this new born cub are measured using a vernier caliper so to track its relative growth rates, many of these animals have been studies by the DNR for decades.
  • A solar panel powers the transmission system used to send data from the implated reveal LINQ cardiac monitoring device back to Medtronic’s Mounds View Carelink system. These solar panels and batteries have been left at the den until spring so to monitor each bears’ activities as they emerge from hibernation. The equipment is collected in late spring to leave no research footprint.
  • Here one gets a perspective of how big a bear’s paw and claws are relative to a human hand.
  • The canines are assessed for wear and damage and measure to identify the general health status of the black bear.
  • Radio collar with posture sensor attached (12 o’clock position).
  • Radio collar placed on a young female. Posture sensor (green circuit) can be seen on the top of the collar.
  • The GPS collar is carefully fitted onto the bear to ensure secure fit, but one that is not too tight.
  • A tripod was constructed and block and tackle was used to weigh this nearly 600 lb male bear.
  • The crew lifts the bear off the ground so to get an accurate weight.
  • The researchers are using a lever to weight this over 500 pound male bear (notice the tree is being used as a pivot, should have gotten a stronger weigh pole!)
  • A cargo net is used as a cradle while the bear is being weighed.
  • Dr. Dave Garshelis (left) checks the black bear’s health status, while Dr. Mark Dittmer (right) adjusts the radio collar.
  • The lengths of each bear is measured at each den visit; from the end of the nose to the tip of the tail.
  • Dr. Dave Garshelis (left) checks the black bear’s health status, while Dr. Mark Dittmer (right) adjusts the radio collar.
  • The image of a black bear’s left ventricle is stored on the cardiac echo machine. The transducer was placed for a short-axis view.
  • A print out of the black bear’s electrocardiogram, a record of the heart’s electrical activity, is added to the black bear’s file.
  • A non-invasive 12-lead EKG is being recorded from this black bear to asses the electrical activity of the heart.
  • Dr. Dave Garshelis, bear project leader, describes to a group of students the indicators used to asesss a black bear’s health status.
  • The health status of a mother and her two yearlings are being assesed by the research team.
  • Dr. Dave Garshelis performs a bioimpedance measurement to calculate relative fat stores.