Telling Tales

Hi Folks:

I haven’t told any stories on this blog for a while, and if I let them build up too long, well, it might not be pretty.  Actually, that reminds me of a technician I had working for me once.  Great technician, but every once in a while she’d just burst out giggling.  I asked her about it and she replied, “I don’t know.. they just build up!”  I’m the same way, except instead of giggling I start babbling.  Like now for instance.

Okay, on with show.  I’ve had the privilege of working over more than half of Canada (so far), and I’ve been involved with some really interesting projects and some wonderful people.  Sometime late in the last millenium I had two separate opportunities to work with black bears.  I’ve accumulated a number of bear stories that I carry around with me, and I thought I’d take a moment or two to share one of them.  In the first bear project on which I worked there were three main aspects to the work.  One aspect was to create a map of the habitat of the area, and another was to create a map of bear movements by using radio collars on certain bears.  In this way we could overlay the bears’ movements onto the map that we’d created so that we could try to interpret where the bears were going at different times of the year, and possibly why.  The third aspect of the work was the most ‘adventurous’, and that was dealing with the bears themselves.  In a nutshell we set out traps for the bears, and when a bear stepped into our trap s/he was anaesthetized, weighed, measured, and samples were taken to determine both the age and the health of the animal.  Yes this was potentially dangerous work, especially on occasions when we had a cub in the trap and his or her mother was less that 10 or 12 yards away and watching intently.  I must say up front that every precaution was taken to respect the health and integrity of both the bears and the staff, and every step was taken to minimize the stress caused by our interactions.  We did have some bears that seemed to find their way into our traps regularly, and there was some suspicion that maybe they liked the drugs…  Yes, that’s a joke, and no, the anaesthetics are neither narcotic nor addictive (just in case that one swept past you).

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