This winter, State Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife biologists are seeking the public's help to learn about new black bear dens throughout New York. As part of DEC's ongoing monitoring of black bears in New York, wildlife biologists routinely check on black bears during the winter den season. The bears may be fitted with a radio collar to help biologists track the bears' activities throughout the rest of the year and to relocate dens in subsequent years for monitoring cub production, condition and survival.
"There is great value in having resident participation for this type of wildlife research," DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "DEC's wildlife biologists use public feedback from these studies as a guidance measure for future wildlife management and planning efforts.
"I encourage anyone that encounters a bear den to follow our safety instructions and reach out to their local DEC office for reporting."
Bears may den in a rock crevice, tree cavity or under heavy brush or fallen tree. Since female bears generally give birth sometime in January or early February, a high-pitched squeal from the cubs may be audible if you are near a den. If anyone finds a bear den, DEC strongly urges the public to not approach or disturb the den, but simply to note the location and move away from the den site.
DEC requests anyone locating a bear den contact its local DEC wildlife office (www.dec.ny.gov/about/558.html) with specifics about the den location, including GPS coordinates if possible. More information about black bears in New York is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6960.html.