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GPS tracking finds food lures bears over 50 mile trek

by GPS4US 2013-10-01 14:18

Acorns were scarce around Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport, leading a female bear to leave her home and wander 50 miles northwest to find some food in Massachusetts.

 

It was an unusually long jaunt, but biologists with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were able to document the 2011 journey with the help of a GPS collar as part of an effort to observe the movements of bears.

 

Bears usually stick within a 15-mile radius of their home territory, but the lack of acorns – an important part of the bear diet – drove the female to Becket, Mass. She returned to her home in Connecticut just in time to hibernate.

 

Scientists were surprised.

 

"We never would have known that otherwise," Jason E. Hawley, a wildlife biologist, told the Hartford Courant. "Our GPS collars are opening up a whole new world for us."

 

Biologists are finding that by early spring, Bears are finding their way to wetlands in a search of skunk cabbage, an early food source. By autumn, they’ll be foraging for acorns and nuts. Scientists also documented a bear’s journey to a cornfield in Simsbury, Conn. She stuck around for about a month before swimming the Barkhamsted Resorvoir to get home.

 

Biologists are also getting a glimpse into the size of a bear’s normal ranging areas. They’ve been plotting up to 18 points each day on each bear’s movements, giving them a good idea of each bear’s territory. GPS technology has helped them discover that the bears’ territory is about twice what they originally thought.

Now, we don’t have any bear-sized GPS collars in our lineup, but we do have collars that are specially designed for your dogs.

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