Wild Bears in CT Now Have Fancy New GPS Collars!

wild_bears_gps_trackingIt’s not an easy feat, but the CT state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection biologists did it anyway: fitting roughly 25 bears with GPS tracking collars during the past three years! Biologists wanted to  find out where these bears  – and we know you do too!

Biologists have already learned a few interesting things too. For example:

  • Bears look for skunk cabbage in wetland areas after hibernating.
  • Acorns and other nuts are what bears eat during the fall months.

Want to know more? So do biologists, and that’s exactly what GPS trackers are assisting with.

‘Airport Bear’

Let’s look at one of the current bears sporting a GPS tracking collar, dubbed ‘Airport Bear’  (this bear resides near ‘Bradley International Airport’ in Windsor Locks).

Biologists watched Airport Bear (and of course, I mean watched her GPS location!) make her way from her home on October 18, 2011 to Becket, Massachusetts (50 miles away) and back again on December 1st of that same year to begin hibernation.


When the researchers looked into it, they found that acorns were scarce in the bear’s home area, and lo and behold, plentiful in Becket! As it turns out, bears will travel a long way for the right acorn!

Showing Where Bears Roam

The GPS trackers are showing researchers where a bear’s territory is with amazing accuracy thanks to the GPS tracking collars reporting every bear’s location data 17 to 18 times each day. Researchers gather this data, compile numerous months-worth of data, and plot that data on a  map.

The trackers with GPS have also taught the biologists another important lesson: even if you move bears to another location in order to protect the public, they will try to find their way home again.

This happened with Airport Bear — she got too close for comfort, and biologists relocated her to a location two towns away. However, she made it back home in a mere six hours. So much for that idea!

Don’t Feed The Bears

Although it isn’t illegal to do so, it is advised residents do not feed wild bears. Biologists say that this leads to the bears becoming too comfortable with humans, which then results in a greater risk of being hit by a car and changing a bear’s home territory. Despite this advice, people still do it, as the GPS collars have indicated.

Researchers say they’ve put two and two together when they have observed numerous bears appearing at the same location, something they’ve seen in multiple areas. They speak to the residents about this behavior in efforts to educate them as to why this practice is a bad idea for the bears’ safety and well being.

Bear Numbers On The Rise

Biologists say that the bear population is rising, causing them to spread across the state into more urban areas by way of the suburbs – this fact makes tracking bears crucial. These GPS tracking collars are the perfect way to learn about the bear’s habits and movements.

GPS tracking devices are for more than just wildlife! Contact us if there’s anything you might like to track with a GPS tracker (just stay away from those bears)!


Photo Courtesy of FHGitarre Via Flickr Creative Commons

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