Back in 1980, the state suspended bear hunting because wildlife biologists could not tell if the population could support it.

With 30 years of data behind them, the biologists can now say with conviction that the bear population is not only holding its own, but is actually thriving.

They’ve also found that hunters are not taking as many bears as called for in state wildlife management plans for the species.

The success of the bears is one good story. The success of the scientists is another.

Wildlife biologists track bears with the use of radio collars. That means going into the woods where the bears live, visiting them when they are bedded down for the winter or poking them with tranquilizer syringes when they are trapped.

It also means getting growled at, scratched and sometimes bitten by the bears, who don’t always want to contribute to the advance of science.

State workers can catch a lot of flak, especially around election season. It’s worth noting when projects like conserving Maine’s natural resources succeed to every Mainer’s benefit.

 


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