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Bear Tagging

In order to monitor the black bear population in Pennsylvania, every spring the Game Commission tracks female black bears with radio collars to check their health and tag the ears of their new cubs. On March 20, they visited a den in Cambria County to check in on a mother bear and her three babies. After safely tranquilizing the mother, the Game Commission Officers confirmed that she was healthy and changed the breakaway leather piece on her collar. They then logged the gender and weights of the three cubs, and attached identification tags on their ears before returning them to their mother.

Camden Marx, 7, holds a baby black bear cub after it received ear tags on March 20, 2017 in Cambria County. The Game Commission tracks female black bears to their dens with radio collars to check their health and tag the ears of their cubs. Occasionally, the Game Commission Officers will bring along friends or family to hold bear cubs and learn about the wildlife firsthand. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
Justin Brown, a veterinarian for the Game Commission based at the Pennsylvania State University Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, finishes his medical examination of the tranquilized mother black bear. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
Justin Brown examines the pads on the feet of the tranquilized mother black bear. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
Erin Kabler, Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer, holds a black bear cub. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
Brandon Snavely, a Bio-Aid for the Game Commission, puts the radio collar with a new break away leather piece around the neck of the tranquilized mother black bear. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
Seth Mesoras, left, and Shawn Harshaw, Wildlife Conservation Officers, put a black bear cub into a bag for weighing. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
Seth Mesoras holds the head of a black bear cub as another officer prepares the ear tag for attachment. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
From left: Veterinarian Justin Brown, Bio-Aid Brandon Snavely, and bear biologist Mark Ternent share stories about kids’ reactions to seeing a bear in person for the first time as they pack up to leave the black bear den. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)
The three baby black bears are returned to the warmth of their mother’s fur in their den. The two males and one female cub and the mother are all healthy. (Haley Nelson/Post-Gazette)